USDA ANNOUNCES GRANTS FOR AGRICULTURAL MARKETING PROJECTS
WASHINGTON, July12, 2005 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the awarding of 26 matching grants totaling $1,316,000 to 20 states and Puerto Rico to support agricultural market research and demonstration projects. The grants, provided under the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program, will be used to explore new and innovative approaches to marketing U.S. food and agricultural products and improve efficiency and performance of the marketing system.
"These projects are excellent examples of the benefit of investing in new marketing opportunities for U.S. agriculture," said Chuck Conner, deputy secretary of agriculture. "Many are innovative; others increase efficiency of production; still others help remove trade and transportation barriers. But all may provide wide-ranging benefits for the American farmer and consumer."
USDA awarded the following grants:
Arkansas - $50,000 to the Arkansas State Plant Board, in cooperation with Winrock International, to conduct consumer research that will assist newly-formed vegetable cooperatives in southeast Arkansas identify and pursue opportunities to sell produce in commercial and local markets.
California - $49,000 to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, in cooperation with the California Dried Fruit Export Association, the Dried Fruit Association of California, and the Northern California World Trade Center, to research the market for dried fruit in Mexico and to assess opportunities for sales of dried fruit to California supermarkets that cater to Hispanic consumers.
Delaware - $30,000 to the Delaware Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with growers and buyers in a tri-state region, and the Extension Services of the University of Delaware and Delaware State University, to update and revitalize the "Shore to Store" marketing program on the Delmarva Peninsula.
Florida - $28,000 to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in cooperation with the Florida Sweet Corn Exchange, to assess new market potential for increasing consumer consumption of fresh market winter sweet corn.
Georgia - $63,800 to the University of Georgia, on behalf of the Georgia Agricultural Experiment Station, and in cooperation with Colorado State University, to conduct consumer research to assess new market opportunities for producers of grass-finished beef.
Hawaii - $40,000 to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with Fresh From the Farm, LLC, for a pilot project to explore the feasibility of establishing a farmer-based online direct marketing vehicle for farmers to serve consumers, communities, and commercial businesses locally, domestically and internationally.
Kansas - $28,800 to the Kansas Department of Commerce to analyze market and agritourism opportunities for Kansas wine, and develop a strategic marketing plan for the emerging Kansas wine sector.
Kentucky - $78,870 to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with Kentucky State University, to determine and field test technological requirements and develop protocols for shipping high value live prawn to urban markets in North America; and, in cooperation with industry partners and the Extension Services of Kentucky State University and the University of Kentucky, to assess the impact of selected goat production methods on marketability and profitability.
Louisiana - $37,600 to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, in cooperation with the Louisiana State University Agriculture Center, to research the market for U.S. sweetpotatoes in selected EU markets, and to analyze the nutritional content of the U.S. grown variety as well as competing sweetpotato varieties sold in target European markets.
Massachusetts - $52,530 to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, in cooperation with the University of Massachusetts Extension Service and Pioneer Valley Growers Association, to identify opportunities for the region's growers to produce crops for the local immigrant Latino market that are currently imported from Latin America.
Michigan - $24,000 to the Michigan Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Michigan Apple Committee and Michigan Apple Shippers Association, to assess niche market opportunities for northern apples in Mexico.
Minnesota - $53,000 to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with Food Alliance Midwest, to help Minnesota growers access wholesale and direct sales opportunities at corporate work sites.
Missouri - $80,000 to the Missouri Department of Agriculture to determine and address logistical barriers for small processed food companies by researching the feasibility of regional distribution systems in the state; and, in cooperation with the University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry, the Missouri Seed Improvement Association and others, to create a virtual brokerage system for native plants and seeds to address current market inefficiencies, improve quality, and increase sales.
Montana - $80,000 to the Montana Department of Agriculture to evaluate the economic feasibility of ethanol production in Montana using sugar beets or beet sugar refining feed stocks.
Nebraska - $135,000 to the Nebraska Corn Development, Utilization and Marketing Board, in cooperation with the National Corn Growers Association and industry partners, to survey Midwest livestock producers and feeders to determine their current and future potential usage of dried distillers' grains; and $43,000 to the University of Nebraska Food Processing Center, on behalf of the Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Station, to facilitate development of the Nebraska Local Food Cooperative, a regional direct marketing system designed to improve the efficiency, profitability and competitiveness of Nebraska producers.
New Jersey - $56,500 to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with Rutgers University, to survey consumers, producers, wholesalers and buyers in the Northeast about consumption of live fish, shellfish and other seafood products and produce a central resource to facilitate sales.
New Mexico - $53,500 to the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with New Mexico State University, the New Mexico Chile Commission and industry partners, to investigate and implement new handling methods and packaging for fresh green chiles, and educate consumers about the qualities and uses of fresh green chiles to expand marketing opportunities for this regional specialty product.
Oklahoma - $69,500 to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, in cooperation with the Oklahoma Wheat Commission, Oklahoma State University and the Oklahoma Wheat Growers Association, to analyze wheat quality data on a regional basis, and expand an Oklahoma-based electronic grain marketing system to other wheat-growing states in the region.
Puerto Rico - $92,900 to the University of Puerto Rico on behalf of the Puerto Rico Agricultural Experiment Station to develop a strategic marketing plan that will help establish an identity for Puerto Rican coffee as a high value specialty product; and in cooperation with the University of Missouri and industry partners, to improve the profitability of rice milling in Puerto Rico by determining the economic feasibility and export potential for rice hull-based potting mixes, and by evaluating consumer response to marketing and labeling claims of U.S. origin rice.
South Dakota - $60,000 to the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the South Dakota Specialty Producers Association and the South Dakota Extension Service, to create a marketing plan for South Dakota specialty producers and improve the efficiency of the current product distribution system.
Virginia - $110,000 to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to complete cost/benefit and feasibility studies for a roasting and/or shelling facility, and to explore ways to enhance the niche market value of Virginia-Carolina peanuts; and, in cooperation with Virginia Tech, to evaluate the competitiveness of U.S. lumber in Latin America, identify barriers within transportation and distribution systems domestically and in Latin America, and communicate results to the Appalachian wood industry.