USDA Announces Support Available for Specialty Crops, the Local Food Sector, and Agricultural Marketing

March 07, 2018

Updated with links: March 16, 2018

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced nearly $89 million in available funding to support specialty crop growers, strengthen local and regional food systems, and explore new market opportunities for farmers and ranchers. USDA helps fund projects that bolster rural economies across the country.

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) enhances the competitiveness of U.S. grown specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. Over $72 million in block grants will be awarded to State departments of agriculture, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

States must submit SCBGP applications electronically through by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, May 24, 2018. Organizations or individuals interested in the SCBGP should contact their State department of agriculture for more information on how each State awards sub grants.

The Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program will split a total of $26 million in funding between the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP). FMPP helps fund direct farmer-to-consumer marketing activities through capacity building; and community development, training and technical assistance projects. LFPP projects require a 25 percent match and focus on planning and implementation of local and regional food intermediary supply chain development.

AMS will host one webinar for applicants of both FMPP and LFPP on Wednesday, March 28, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Applications for FMPP and LFPP must be submitted electronically through by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, May 7, 2018.

The Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP) supports exploration of new domestic and international market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products and encourages research and innovation aimed at improving marketing system efficiency and performance. State departments of agriculture, State colleges and universities, and other eligible State agencies may apply for over $1 million in funding available in 2018.

AMS will host a FSMIP applicant teleconference on Thursday, March 29, 2018, at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Please contact/email Martin Rosier to register for the teleconference. Grant applications for FSMIP must be submitted electronically through by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, May 7, 2018.

AMS will host a webinar to introduce potential applicants to the application process on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Applicants are urged to start the registration process as soon as possible to ensure that they meet the application deadline. Applicants are also encouraged to submit their application well in advance of the posted due date. Any grant application submitted after the due date will not be considered unless the applicant provides documentation of an extenuating circumstance that prevented their timely submission of the grant application. Read more in AMS Late and Non-Responsive Application Policy.

For more information about these programs, visit the AMS Grants & Opportunities web page and learn more about eligibility and grant uses at What AMS Grant is Right for Me?

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender