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USDA Invites State Participation in National Effort to Create New Opportunities, Reduce Barriers in Bringing Agricultural Products to Market
WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2009 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture today invited state departments of agriculture, state agricultural experiment stations and other state agencies to submit proposals that help to market, transport and distribute United States-produced food and agricultural products domestically and internationally. Selected proposals will be funded through the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP).
"This program is a great way for state agencies to tackle some of the distribution and market issues our farmers are facing," said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. "We hope to see many proposals that reflect USDA's 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' initiative, projects that will help create wealth in rural communities through the development of local and regional food systems and value-added agriculture, and that develop direct marketing opportunities for producers or producer groups."
The FSMIP is a matching grant program administered by AMS, with funds allocated on the basis of one round of competition. USDA is particularly interested in proposals that involve collaboration among the states, academia, producers and other stakeholders and in proposals that have state, regional or national significance. Federal funds awarded to any project must be matched by non-federal funds or in-kind resources.
"Given the broad flexibility of this program there are endless possibilities for creative projects, such as increasing consumption of locally produced foods in hospitals or to exploring opportunities for sales of locally grown and processed products in school vending machines," said Edward Avalos, Under Secretary for USDA's Marketing and Regulatory Programs. "These funds are used to focus on barriers, challenges, and opportunities in marketing, transporting, and distributing food across the United States."
USDA has recently funded projects as diverse as helping to develop strategies to increase the number of consumers who participate in direct marketing; determining optimum strategies for marketing source-verified beef in high-end restaurants in major metropolitan areas; and developing an analytical model of use by state departments of agriculture to more efficiently and cost-effectively allocate state resources for promoting locally grown food.
States interested in applying for FSMIP funds may submit proposals to FSMIP Staff Officer, USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service, 1800 M Street, NW, Room 3002-South Tower, Washington, D.C. 20036, or call (202) 694-4002. Program guidelines, application forms and other related information are posted on the Internet at www.ams.usda.gov/FSMIP. Applicants have the option of submitting their applications through the federal grants web site: www.grants.gov. The deadline for submitting applications is Feb. 10, 2010.
The notice inviting applications for FSMIP funds for FY 2010 appeared today in the December 15, 2009, Federal Register.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).