The process of applying for federal grants can be daunting, but extra funding can help farmers diversify their farms or make them more sustainable or profitable.
University of Georgia Extension is currently working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Southern Rural Development Center, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture to host two workshops to help farmers apply for grants through the USDA’s Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion programs.
The Farmers Market Promotion Program supports farmers markets and other direct-to-consumer marketing activities, while the Local Food Promotion Program supports enterprises that aggregate, store, distribute and process local and regional food, according to the USDA.
The Agricultural Act of 2014, better known as the Farm Bill, authorized $30 million be spent each year to develop new marketing opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local and regional markets. This funding will be distributed to local communities through the Agricultural Marketing Service’s Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion grant programs.
“The Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion (programs) are a key to USDA's efforts to revitalize rural economies by supporting local and regional food systems,” said AMS Administrator Anne Alonzo. “The grant workshops will ensure that more communities and businesses across the country can participate in the competitive grant process with proposals that create real economic opportunities and help meet the growing demand for locally and regionally produced food."
UGA Extension and representatives from the USDA will host grant-writing workshops, designed to help farmers and local food advocates navigate the application process, on Wednesday, April 15, at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, and on Thursday, April 23, at Fort Valley State University’s Agricultural Technology Conference Center in Fort Valley.
Registration is limited to 50 participants per workshop. Pre-registration is online at: http://goo.gl/forms/7ssRKvZXHK. The workshops are free and run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Details can be found under ‘Upcoming Events’ at http://sustainagga.org.
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(Writers from the USDA contributed to this release.)
(Merritt Melancon is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
(Sustainable Agriculture Program Assistant)