WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service has awarded more than $11.2 million to 22 grant projects to strengthen and explore new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products. The funding is made possible through three grant programs administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS): the Acer Access and Development Program (Acer), the Federal State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP), and the Micro-Grants for Food Security Program (MGFSP).
“USDA is excited about funding projects that improve access to fresh, locally sourced food and strengthen market opportunities for local and regional producers through the Acer Program, the Federal State Marketing Improvement Program, and the Micro-Grants for Food Security Program,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “USDA is committed to supporting states and territories as they administer these programs across the nation.”
Through the Acer program, USDA (or AMS) is awarding $5.9 million to fund 12 projects. Acer projects aim to improve consumer knowledge, awareness and understanding of the maple syrup industry and its products. This year’s funds are being distributed to four Market Development and Promotion projects and eight Producer and Landowner Education projects to increase market opportunities for the domestic maple syrup industry. The program also supports projects that advance producer knowledge, awareness and understanding of research, educational resources, or natural resource sustainability practices affecting the maple syrup industry and its products. Acer funding is authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill.
Through FSMIP, USDA is awarding more than $1 million to five projects to explore new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products and to encourage research and innovation aimed at improving marketing system efficiency and performance. The program supports state departments of agriculture, state agricultural experiment stations, and other appropriate state agencies. FSMIP is authorized by the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946,
Through MGFSP, USDA is awarding $4.4 million to agricultural agencies in Alaska, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and Hawaii to increase the quantity and quality of locally grown food through small-scale gardening, herding, and livestock operations. The goal of the program is to support communities across the U.S. that have significant levels of food insecurity and import significant quantities of food. MGFSP is authorized through the 2018 Farm Bill.
AMS supports U.S. food and agricultural product market opportunities, while increasing consumer access to fresh, healthy foods through applied research, technical services, and congressionally funded grants. To learn more about AMS’s investments in enhancing and strengthening agricultural systems, visit www.ams.usda.gov/grants.