USDA announces $90M in local, regional market grants
The Agriculture Department recently announced a $90.2 million investment in 203 projects to strengthen and explore new market opportunities for local and regional food businesses.
The funding is made possible through grant programs administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service as part of the Local Agriculture Marketing Program, the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Programs and the Regional Food System Partnerships.
FMLFPP awarded a total of $75.4 million to 172 projects across 41 states to support the development, coordination, and expansion of direct producer-to-consumer markets and local and regional food business enterprises. FMLFPP is implemented through two components, the Farmers Market Promotion Program and the Local Food Promotion Program. FMPP awarded $37.5 million to 84 projects to support direct producer-to-consumer marketing projects such as farmers markets, community-supported agriculture programs, roadside stands, and agritourism. LFPP awarded $37.7 million to 85 projects to develop, improve, and expand local and regional food business intermediary supply chain activities, including processing, distribution, aggregation, and storage of locally or regionally produced food products.
RFSP awarded $14.8 million to 30 projects across 24 states to support partnerships that connect public and private resources to plan and develop local or regional food systems. The projects focus on strengthening the viability and resilience of regional food economies through collaboration and coordination.
“These grants will help maximize opportunities for economic growth and ingenuity in local and regional food systems to kick-start this transformation. The Local Agriculture Marketing Program grants have a history of generating new income sources for small, beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and creating new market opportunities for value-added and niche products,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The new Regional Food System Partnerships grants will help build a fairer, more transparent food system rooted in local and regional production where businesses can compete fairly, because a greater share of the profit will go to those growing, harvesting, and preparing our food.”
“The strength of America’s agricultural economy is our creativity and resilience. Whether it’s a farmers market in Lansing or a food business in Kalamazoo, local and regional food systems expand economic opportunities for farmers and secure healthy food supply chains for families,” said Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., in the USDA release.
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