Sam Jones-Ellard (202) 720-8998
WASHINGTON, July 15, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced over $1.3 million in 22 matching grants to 18 states supporting agricultural market research and demonstration projects. These grants, provided under the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP), will explore new and innovative approaches to marketing U.S. food and agricultural products and to improve the efficiency and performance of the marketing system.
“These projects reflect the new realities of today's increasingly competitive global marketplace," said Vilsack. "They are focused on developing innovative, more efficient and market-oriented ways to benefit our agricultural sector and support our nation's economy."
These grants focus on developing agricultural marketing strategies for an array of projects including eight local/regional food projects, two bio-energy projects, a farm-to-school project and a food safety for direct marketers project. FSMIP funds a wide range of applied research projects that address barriers, challenges, and opportunities in marketing, transporting, and distributing U.S. food and agricultural products domestically and internationally.
USDA awarded the following grants:
Colorado - $42,000 to the Colorado Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with industry partners, to prepare and assist the millet industry to directly market their products through research and training on the certifications and protocols necessary to access domestic and international markets.
Florida - $80,900 to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in cooperation with the University of Florida Department of Food and Resource Economics, the Southeastern Fisheries Association, and the Florida Aquaculture Association, to survey families with children to identify their attitudes about and preferences for seafood and aquaculture products, and to help the seafood industry develop a marketing campaign to reach this target population of consumers.
Florida - $38,015 to the University of Florida Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Indian River Research and Education Center, to assess demand for farm-raised baitfish in the Southeast through interviews and a survey of Florida anglers and baitfish retailers.
Georgia - $63,275 to the University of Georgia to examine the market for locally-produced beef in the Southeastern U.S., and determine consumers’ willingness to pay for various product attributes to help the region’s retailers/foodservice operators better estimate consumer price-points, and help producers implement appropriate production strategies.
Montana - $62,485 to the Montana Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with Montana State University, the National Center for Appropriate Tech Grow Montana Coalition, the Montana Farmers Union, the Alternative Energy Resources Organization, and the Lake County Community Development Corporation, to use Web-based technology to foster an effective regional food system in Montana.
Montana - $79,600 to Montana State University, in cooperation with Washington State University, Fort Peck Community College, and others, to create a wheat price model and Web-site for use by wheat producers in a three-state region, and conduct educational programs aimed at improving economic returns.
Louisiana - $61,295 to the Louisiana State University (LSU) Agricultural Center, in cooperation with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Center for Business and Information Technologies, and the LSU Louisiana Business and Technology Center, to identify high potential, wood-based bioenergy business options that can be integrated into the current business models of forest landowners, and wood product manufacturers and distributors in the Louisiana forestry sector.
Maryland - $20,825 to the Maryland Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the University of Maryland and Maryland farmers market managers, to assess the economic impact of Maryland farmers markets, identify ways to expand the customer base and increase sales at farmers markets, and explore the feasibility of forming a statewide farmers market association.
Maryland - $100,620 to the University of Maryland School of Nursing, in cooperation with the Maryland Department of Agriculture, Future Harvest/Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, the Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association, and others, to encourage increased use of locally-produced sustainable protein foods such as beef, pork, poultry, dairy, eggs, and seafood, in Maryland health care facilities and institutions.
Massachusetts - $38,870 to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, in cooperation with Tufts University and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, to identify factors that explain why some farmers markets succeed and others fail, and evaluate the impact of the new Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) cash voucher program on farmers and WIC clients.
Michigan – $48,000 to Michigan State University, in cooperation with Vineland Research and Innovation Centre of Ontario, Canada, Purdue University, Texas A&M University and the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, to gain insight into consumer demand and willingness to pay for ornamental and food-producing nursery plants grown under different production systems (sustainable, organic, conventional), at varying distances from the market (local, distant; domestic, international), in various containers (plastic, wheat, straw).
Mississippi - $43,690 to the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, in cooperation with Alcorn State University’s Mississippi Small Farm Development Center, to conduct a pilot project to develop and deliver a quality control training program for small farmers and limited-resource cooperatives in Mississippi.
Kentucky - $38,550 to the University of Kentucky to determine best practices for sampling food products at farmers markets, explore how food product sampling can enhance vendor revenue, and publish a food product sampling guidebook for market managers and vendors.
Nebraska - $68,095 to the University of Nebraska’s Food Processing Center to improve the sustainability of small to mid-sized agricultural producers and their host communities through more effective management of local food cooperatives operating under the Oklahoma Food Cooperative model.
New Jersey - $51,215 to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with Rutgers University, to develop and launch New Jersey grown and processed value-added products that meet the nutritional and cost requirements of the National School Lunch Program.
New York - $75,505 to the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets, in cooperation with the New York Industrial Retention Network, the Northeast Organics Farming Association of New York, and Greenmarket, to develop a collaborative cluster of bakers to work on new product development with the region’s growers and millers of hard and soft wheat, spelt, corn and other small grains.
New York - $58,555 to the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets, in cooperation with The Farmers Market Federation of New York, and the Cornell University Extension Service, to develop practical direct marketing food safety protocols and compile comprehensive case studies to demonstrate best practices for safe food handling.
North Dakota - $59,735 to the North Dakota State University Bio Energy and Products Innovation Center to study current industry practices with regard to quality standards for biomass feedstocks including corn stover, wheat straw, sorghum aftermath, and sugarcane bagasse, and using the results, develop schedules of premium and discounts, and a price reporting series.
Ohio - $54,375 to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks, to foster development of new local food processing, aggregation and distribution infrastructure in Ohio.
Oregon - $55,850 to the Oregon Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Oregon State University Seed Services Program, Agri Seed Testing, Inc., and industry partners, to assist grass seed warehouse operators develop export shipping quality manuals and complete a comprehensive review process to enhance their competitiveness in international markets.
South Carolina - $109,000 to Clemson University, in cooperation with the Market Maker Consortium Evaluation Committee, and the University of Illinois Extension Service, to provide baseline data for a study on the long term economic impact of Market Maker, an interactive Web-based resource that provides geo-coded food marketing information to entrepreneurs and customers to facilitate business-to-business and consumer-producer connections now operating in 13 states and the District of Columbia.
Wyoming - $83,545 to the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Wyoming Rural Development Council, and the University of Wyoming, to explore opportunities for developing community supported agriculture (CSA) operations in the state, and develop a start-up guide that addresses the challenges of operating CSAs in the Rocky Mountain region.
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