The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) works to improve domestic and international opportunities for U.S. growers and producers. AMS works with State and local agricultural departments to provide support to rural America and the Nation’s agricultural sector.
AMS funding supports a variety of programs, including organic certification cost-share programs and efforts to expand farmers markets and other local food sources. This funding is one of the ways that USDA invests in the future of rural America and the nation’s agricultural sector.
USDA grant programs are included in Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF2), an initiative that fosters new opportunities for farmers and ranchers; promotes local and regional foods; cultivates healthy eating habits; expands access to affordable fresh and local food; stimulates agricultural economic development; and demonstrates the connection between food, agriculture, community, and the environment.
The Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program
Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program grants are available annually to support local and regional food systems through two competitive programs: the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP).
FMPP grants fund farmer-to consumer direct marketing projects such as farmers markets, community-supported agriculture programs, roadside stands, and agritourism.
LFPP grants fund local and regional food business enterprises that serve as intermediaries to process, distribute, aggregate, and store locally or regionally produced food products. Projects also provide technical assistance and outreach, including planning grants for local food businesses.
Federal State Marketing Improvement Program
FSMIP provides matching grant funds to conduct applied research projects that explore new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products and improve the efficiency and performance of the U.S. agricultural marketing system.
These grants are awarded on a competitive basis to State departments of agriculture, forestry, natural resources, or energy, as well as other State agencies such as experiment stations, universities, and colleges.
Projects can focus on a wide variety of agricultural research goals, including increased sales of value added meat products, aquaculture, fresh and processed products, local and regional food systems, forestry, bioenergy, and horticulture.
Proposals that benefit one business or individual will not be considered. Proposals that address issues of importance at the State, multi-State, or national level are encouraged.
Organic Cost Share Program
Organic cost-share programs provide assistance for certification related expenses. The funds are awarded to certified organic producers and handlers through participating States.
In recent years, USDA issued close to 10,000 cost-share reimbursements totaling over $6.5 million, to support the organic industry and rural America.
Payments cover up to 75 percent of certification costs, up to a maximum of $750 per certification. To receive cost-share assistance, organic producers and handlers should contact their State
departments of agriculture.
Through the National Organic Program, USDA has helped organic farmers and businesses achieve $35 billion annually in U.S. retail sales. There are more than 25,000 certified organic farms and
businesses around the world.
Sheep Production and Marketing Grant Program
The Sheep Production and Marketing Grant Program is designed to strengthen and enhance the production and marketing of sheep and sheep products in the United States. The program will create new opportunities by improving infrastructure, developing business and resources, and supporting innovative approaches to address long-term needs. Projects will be funded through the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center.
Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
The SCBGP focuses on projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, cut flowers, and other horticulture products. Projects cover issues from food safety to business planning. The block grants are designed to increase the long-term success of producers and broaden the market for specialty crops.
Many of the projects help market locally grown foods and help increase opportunities for specialty crop farmers. SCBGP also offers funds to States to support research and marketing projects that help increase crop yields and to conduct research to mitigate the crop damage.
Applications for individual projects are submitted through the State departments of agriculture. States are encouraged to partner with specialty crop stakeholders to focus on and fulfill specialty crop priorities for their State or region.