02 March 2023, Washington: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the availability of $7.5 million through the Acer Access and Development Program (Acer) and the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP), and is now accepting applications for these funding opportunities through USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). These competitive grant programs fund projects that strengthen and explore new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products.
“Producers at the local level can be the best source for innovative ideas, as they are uniquely positioned to see where new markets could be explored,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “These programs support exploration of new approaches that can create marketing opportunities for local and regional producers including in the U.S. maple syrup industry.”
Through the Acer program, $6.4 million is available to fund projects that increase market opportunities for the domestic maple syrup industry. Acer funds two project types, Market Development and Promotion and Producer and Landowner Education. Market Development and Promotion projects improve consumer knowledge, awareness, and understanding of the maple syrup industry and its products. Producer and Landowner Education projects advance producer knowledge, awareness, and understanding of research, educational resources, or natural resource sustainability practices affecting the maple syrup industry and its products. Eligible applicants include states, tribal governments, and research institutions. Projects are awarded for up to 36 months. A cash match is not required. Acer funding is authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill and funded by annual appropriations.
Through FSMIP, $1.1 million is available for projects to explore new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products and encourage research and innovation aimed at improving the efficiency and performance of the marketing system. The program supports state departments of agriculture, state agricultural experiment stations, and other appropriate state agencies. Projects are awarded for up to 36 months. A dollar-for-dollar match in cash or in-kind resources is required. FSMIP is authorized by the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 and funded by annual appropriations.
The Request for Applications (RFA), information about grant eligibility, and a list of previously funded projects are available on the Acer and FSMIP webpages. Applications must be submitted electronically through www.grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the due dates listed in the RFA. 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. Read more in the AMS Late applications, Denials and/or Appeal Procedures Policy.
AMS encourages applications intended to serve, smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, historically underserved producers, veteran producers, and/or underserved communities. For grants intending to serve these audiences, applicants should engage and involve those beneficiaries when developing projects and applications.
USDA promotes climate-resilient landscapes and rural economic systems, including tools to support agriculture, forests, grazing lands, and rural communities. AMS encourages applicants to consider including goals and activities related to reducing and stabilizing the levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere or adapting to the already occurring climate change in their project’s design and implementation.
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