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USDA INVESTS $92.2 MILLION IN GRANTS FOR LOCAL FOOD PRODUCERS AFFECTED BY THE PANDEMIC
Source: USDA news release

Washington - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the availability of $92.2 million in competitive grant funding under the 2018 Farm Bill's Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP). The LAMP grants announced today are funded through the Farmers Market program as part of USDA's Pandemic Assistance for Producers Initiative.

USDA launched this initiative in March to address shortfalls and disparities in how assistance was distributed in previous COVID-19 assistance packages, with a specific focus on strengthening outreach to underserved producers and communities and small and medium agricultural operations. These grants support the development, coordination and expansion of direct producer-to-consumer marketing, local and regional food markets and enterprises and value-added agricultural products.

"We have an opportunity to transform our nation's food system with a greater focus on resilient, local and regional food systems," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "These grants will help maximize opportunities for economic growth and ingenuity in local and regional food systems to kickstart this transformation. LAMP 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."

USDA encourages projects that assist underserved local and regional agricultural businesses, producer networks and associations, and local and tribal government in responding to COVID-19 disruptions and impacts. Funding is not contingent upon applicants directly addressing these issues.

The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to ensuring equity across the Department, removing barriers to access, and building inclusive programs for the agricultural sector. For grants intending to serve smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, socially disadvantaged producers, veteran producers, and/or underserved communities, USDA encourages applicants engage and involve those beneficiaries when developing projects.

Increasing Local Food Access Through Direct and Intermediary Producer-to-Consumer Markets
USDA will award $76.9 million ($22.5 million in the 2018 Farm Bill, $47 million provided as emergency funding through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and $7.4 in annual appropriations) to FMLFPP. Projects under the Farmers Market Promotion Program support direct-to-consumer markets like farmers markets and CSAs. Projects under the Local Food Promotion Program supports indirect-to-consumer markets like food hubs and value-added product incubators.

Building Robust and Resilient Local and Regional Food Economies
USDA will award $15.3 million ($5 million in the 2018 Farm Bill and $10.3 provided as emergency funding through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021) to RFSP to fund public-private partnerships that build and strengthen viability and resilience of local or regional food economies. Projects focus on increase the availability of locally and regionally produced agricultural products and alleviating unnecessary administrative and technical barriers. Projects can cover the planning and design of a local and regional food economy as well as implementing or expanding an existing one.

Application and Grant Eligibility
Applications undergo external expert peer review and the process is highly competitive. All grants require matching funds from community partners or stakeholders. The amounts and match amounts vary by program and are specified in the RFAs.

Applications must be submitted electronically through www.grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the due dates established in the respective Request for Applications (RFA's). Any grant application submitted after the due date will not be considered unless the applicant provides documentation of an extenuating circumstance that prevented their timely submission of the grant application. Read more in AMS Late and Non-Responsive Application Policy (PDF, 431 KB).

Technical Assistance
AMS offers RFA webinars for new applicants to help walk them through the RFA while also providing helpful hints on what has made past recipients successful. Additionally, Frequently Asked Questions are posted on the AMS Grants website, and grants management specialists are standing by to answer any incoming questions and emails during regular business hours.


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