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Posts tagged: FMPP

Bringing Federal Partners to the Local Foods Table

Three years ago this fall, Secretary Vilsack and I launched the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative (KYF2).  Since then, we’ve seen interest and participation in local and regional food systems grow beyond anything we expected: whether I’m meeting with buffalo ranchers from the Great Plains or with members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, I hear about efforts to connect producers and consumers locally and interest in how USDA can help.

In meetings of the White House Rural Council, which has representatives from across the federal government, regional food systems have been a key part of discussions. Read more »

Increasing Opportunities and Expanding Possibilities through the Farmers Market Promotion Program

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan (center, white jacket) buys produce at the Baltimore farmers market in Baltimore, MD., on July 8, 2012. The mid-Atlantic region saw double-digit growth in its listings in the National Farmers Market Directory.  Maryland added 76 new market listings alone. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan (center, white jacket) buys produce at the Baltimore farmers market in Baltimore, MD. By supporting farmers markets and other businesses, Farmers Market Promotion Program funds have helped open new doors for farmers and ranchers all across the country.

Last Friday, I was honored to announce $9 million in new grants through USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP). The program targets producers, cooperatives and organizations that market products directly to consumers – just one of the many marketing approaches that make American agriculture so successful. Read more »

Farmers Help WIC Participants Get Fresh Produce Down in Texas

Young toddlers and children crowded the tents, shuffling and giggling, as they waited for their parents to purchase produce for the family. The Arlington Farmers’ Market was filled with customers who participate in the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) and farmers who were excited to cater to the enormous turn out. Well over 200 families came out in the mid-morning heat of Texas to receive their Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) vouchers.

Through the FMNP, WIC participants are able to access locally grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs that promote the well being and health of themselves and/or their children. Just last year in 2011, 1.9 million WIC participants received FMNP benefits, which, when redeemed, surpassed 16.4 million dollars in total revenue for participating farmers and farmer’s markets.

On hand this day were Ann Salyer-Caldwell, Tarrant County WIC Director, Sam Varela, the FMNP State Director of Texas Department of Agriculture, Kay Dillard, the Director of the Tarrant Area Food Bank, Dorothy “Toni” Savage-Oakford, a community health worker with the Tarrant County Health Department, and Samantha Swain, the local FMNP Coordinator. Read more »

In Pennsylvania, Farmers Markets Offer Opportunity to Producers and Communities

Pennsylvania is among the country’s top ten states represented in the USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory.  I recently completed a trip through the Fruit Belt to the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia to see how USDA’s support of farmers market development is impacting communities and helping farmers across the Keystone State.

My first stop was Camp Hill, a small town outside Harrisburg, to visit a new farmers market developed with the assistance of community organizations including   Capital Resource and Conservation & Development Area Council (Capital RC&D).  Capital RC&D received a USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant to help farmers markets improve their consumer outreach and receive EBT and debit payments to expand micro-business opportunities for the area’s local farmers.  The market, which just opened in May, is off to a great start with over a dozen vendors selling local bread, meat,  dairy and produce from Pennsylvania’s fruit belt. Read more »

Help Wanted: Grant Reviewers for Farmers Market Promotion Program

Must have a desire to help farmers reach new markets and to help businesses bring healthier options to local communitiesExperience & qualifications should include some knowledge of local and direct marketing methods.  Must be willing to devote 50-60 hours during the month of July to help score project proposals.  See below for more detail.

The Farmers Market Promotion Program is a competitive grant process designed to help expand opportunities for farmers and bring healthy foods into more communities.  The grants are administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), and aim to help farmers throughout the country.  About $10 million is available this year to support direct-marketing projects like farmers markets, community supported agriculture, roadside stands and agritourism. Read more »

Redefining Agricultural Marketing

The Market News Room at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in February 1947. USDA Market News reporters have provided almost a century of insight for farmers and commodity trading.

The Market News Room at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in February 1947. USDA Market News reporters have provided almost a century of insight for farmers and commodity trading.

Over the years, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has changed and evolved to meet the regulatory, statutory and market demands of U.S. agriculture.  The agency’s role, its name and place within the structure of USDA have all evolved over the years.  What hasn’t changed is the commitment to helping U.S. farmers successfully compete domestically and worldwide. Read more »