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USDA Announces Agricultural Marketing System Grants to 19 States and Puerto Rico to Expand Product Reach


WASHINGTON, July 12, 2011— The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that it will award 25 grants to 19 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to help create economic opportunities for American producers and businesses. Under the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP), USDA is matching $1.3 million worth of state grants to state departments of agriculture, state agricultural experiment stations, and other appropriate state agencies to assist in exploring new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products and to encourage research and innovation aimed at improving the marketing system.

“FSMIP provides our state partners with matching funds to explore new and innovative approaches to marketing U.S. food and agricultural products,” said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. “USDA supports state and local projects ranging from research to retail to ensure that quality American products are marketed efficiently and effectively.”

Grants were awarded to support the following projects:

Arkansas - $60,660 to the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville, to investigate consumer preference and willingness to pay for environmental benefits associated with rice varieties that emit lower levels of greenhouse gas during production.

California - $35,000 to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, in cooperation with the California Wild Rice Advisory Board and the Minnesota Cultivated Wild Rice Council, to develop a nationwide system for reporting wild rice production, inventories, and usage to help stabilize prices across the U.S. resulting from wide variations in supply.

Connecticut - $39,000 to the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Connecticut District Export Council, Connecticut Specialty Food Association, University of Connecticut, Northeast Utilities, and Connecticut Development Authority, to assist small and medium sized producers and processors of specialty food and wine, produce, shellfish, forest products, and fiber products to become export ready, and to develop a coordinated export market strategy for specialty agricultural products.

Connecticut - $50,320 to the University of Connecticut, in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, Connecticut Farm Bureau Association, Connecticut Northeast Organic Farming Association, and CitySeed, to improve the interactive features of the website to benefit both producers and consumers and add new capacity to foster sales of local agricultural products to wholesale buyers such as chefs and food service operators.

Georgia - $55,373 to the Georgia Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, to increase utilization of State-run, non-profit and community farmers’ markets and to implement new marketing and distribution strategies to increase available supplies of locally grown produce to meet growing demand.

Idaho - $67,220 to the University of Idaho, in cooperation with the Idaho Barley Commission, to expand the use of barley as an ingredient in food products designed to appeal to consumers in selected Asian and Latin American markets and to schoolchildren in the United States.

Illinois - $55,000 to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association, to conduct a comprehensive grape census and economic impact study, explore development of an Illinois Wine Quality/Standards program, and host training sessions for chefs, restaurateurs, and retailers in urban environments to explore untapped markets for Illinois wine.

Kansas - $113,700 to Kansas State University, to develop certification guidelines and determine costs and potential returns to producers of adopting pre‐harvest beef cattle certified production and health management protocols designed to enhance post‐harvest meat food safety and ensure animal welfare.

Kansas - $30,500 to Kansas State University, in cooperation with the Tri County Steer Carcass Futurity Cooperative, to improve the accuracy of pre-slaughter grade determinations through an analysis of beef carcass data from 23 Midwest and Southeastern States.

Kentucky - $49,000 to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with Kentucky State University and Ohio State University, to investigate the feasibility of creating a profitable seafood marketing system using low to moderate investment that takes into account the demand for fresh/live seafood markets in Kentucky and Ohio, and the supply of aquaculture products from small-scale and seasonal growers.

Louisiana - $56,815 to Louisiana State University Agricultural Center to identify cost savings associated with alternative cotton harvest and transportation options, and identify optimal ownership of new technology to improve efficiency in the marketing supply chain for cotton in the mid-South.

Louisiana - $30,511 to Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, in cooperation with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, Crescent City Farmers Markets, Louisiana State University Sea Grant programs and Orleans Parish Firstline Schools, to survey school lunch directors in pilot parishes to determine demand for locally produced agricultural and fishery products, assess the capacity of local farmers and fishermen to fulfill the demand, and train local producers on the use of Louisiana MarketMaker and other resources that will help them identify new institutional and direct marketing opportunities.

Maine - $64,145 to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources, in cooperation with Maine Fiberarts, to compile a comprehensive consumer-oriented database of the Maine fiber sector, and develop training programs to improve the marketing skills of small fiber business operators.

Massachusetts - $11,015 to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, in cooperation with the Massachusetts Brewers Guild, to assess the current volume, value and types of local ingredients used by craft brewers in Massachusetts, and facilitate increased use through a grower/brewer matchmaking educational session and case studies that highlight the barriers and opportunities.

Massachusetts - $13,625 to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, in cooperation with the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, to explore ways to effectively move local food products from farms and wholesale markets to inner-city corner stores while meeting the preferences and requirements of producers, store owners and target consumers.

Michigan - $36,750 to Michigan State University, in cooperation with Purdue University, Texas A&M University, the University of Minnesota, and the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, to utilize new eye movement tracking technology to determine the images and text consumers view first and longest when looking at a display of ornamental and food-producing plants in order to understand how these factors relate to purchasing decisions.

Michigan - $113,351 to Michigan State University to develop and test a comprehensive beef traceability model that could be implemented by Michigan beef producers, processors, retailers, and food service operators.

Minnesota - $60,000 to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to identify trends in consumer preferences and expectations toward improving marketing efforts of Minnesota farmers and ranchers who sell direct to consumers. Includes numerous areas such as customer service and retail-area design.

Missouri - $61,026 to the University of Missouri to survey Missouri consumers and retailers about their preferences and willingness to pay for locally produced artisan cheese in order to foster development of the specialty dairy sector.

Nebraska - $79,534 to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, in cooperation with the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society and the Center for Rural Affairs, to foster development of regional food systems in Nebraska.

New York - $73,824 to the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets, in cooperation with the Cornell Extension Service, NOFA-NY, the Empire State B&B Association, Central New York Bounty, the New York Small Scale Food Processors Association and University of Illinois Extension, to educate bed and breakfast operators about opportunities to feature locally produced food and agricultural products in meals served to their guests, and to measure the economic impact on producers of sales made through this specialized marketing channel.

Puerto Rico - $21,000 to the Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Food Safety Institute of the University of Puerto Rico, to train meat, poultry and dairy producers and processors regarding food safety, quality protocols and best practices to assist them to develop comprehensive food safety plans in order to improve access to commercial markets.

Texas - $42,588 to the Texas Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Texas Farmers Market Corporation and the University of Houston, to develop webinars and workshops to train producers of meat, dairy products, eggs and produce about Good Agricultural Practices and optimal packaging techniques to sell their products at farmers markets and to retail grocery stores.

Virginia - $75,150 to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in cooperation with Virginia Tech, to evaluate economic, cultural, regulatory, and social factors affecting the value chain of hardwoods in Asia and Europe, and to identify new opportunities for U.S. hardwood lumber sector to supply valued-added products to target countries that currently import unprocessed lumber.

Wyoming - $36,225 to the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Wyoming Rural Development Council, to increase the quantity and variety of locally grown food and agricultural products in Wyoming public schools.

USDA published a notice inviting applications for FSMIP funds for fiscal year 2011 on Dec. 23, 2010, in the Federal Register (document AMS-FRDOC-0001-0712). More information about the program is available at .


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