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USDA Grants Support Marketing Innovation for American Farmers and Ranchers

Release No.: 150-13
Gwen Sparks (202) 260-8210

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2013 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced matching grant awards for 18 projects under the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP) to help create economic opportunities for American farmers and ranchers.

USDA will match just over $1.2 million in grants for state departments of agriculture and state universities in 15 states. The projects will enable states to research new opportunities, and spark innovation in the marketing, transportation and distribution of U.S. agricultural products.

"Agricultural producers across the country are looking for new ways to market their products and improve their return on investment. These market research projects will generate results that will help remove barriers and increase trade opportunities, both domestically and abroad,” said Anne Alonzo, Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator. “USDA knows the importance of partnering with states and universities to address challenges and continue innovation.”

In Minnesota, for example, a FSMIP grant will help the University of Minnesota and the Midwest Dairy Foods Research Center complete a technical feasibility study to identify the potential for converting acid whey – a byproduct of Greek yogurt production – to valuable dietary fiber. If the economic analysis indicates that this could be profitable, it could provide dairy processors with a new revenue opportunity from the conversion of yogurt manufacturing waste products.

As part of USDA’s effort to grow and sustain consumer access to fresh, local agricultural products and continue to improve food safety efforts, Virginia State University will be conducting research to identify the deficiencies in the local food marketing system and developing marketing strategies that meet the needs of small farmers and consumers in Central and Eastern Virginia. Likewise, in Washington, an advisory team of stakeholders, in conjunction with Washington State University, will assess the feasibility of, and develop the framework for a farmer “verification” program to help ensure public trust in local products sold in farmers markets. Other projects focus on a wide assortment of agricultural marketing research topics.

FSMIP projects supporting local and regional food systems are part of the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative (KYF2) which coordinates USDA’s support in local and regional food systems. Past FSMIP projects supporting this work can be found on the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass.

Since 1976, USDA's Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program has partnered with states across the country to support 943 projects that exemplify marketing innovation. Visit for a list of this year's projects. The program is part of USDA's integrated approach to programs and policies that stimulate food- and agriculturally-based community economic development.

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  Last Modified Date: 10/17/2013