US under secretary Greg Ibach has announced that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $102.7m to increase opportunities for farmers, ranchers and other growers across the country through five grant programmes.
The funding supports a variety of locally-led projects intended to expand markets for local food promotion and specialty crops.
“Every state has agricultural priorities that contribute to the wellbeing of farm families, consumers and the economic health of rural America,” said Ibach. “These programmes target resources to the state, local and regional level where the people who understand the issues best can find solutions that help everyone.”
The resources announced are administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and include a number of different projects.
These include US$72.15m directed to state departments of agriculture in 50 states, the District of Columbia and five US territories through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) to support farmers growing specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops.
States will use the SCBGP to fund research, agricultural extension activities and programmes to increase demand for agricultural goods of value to farmers in the state or territory.
Meanwhile, US$1.1m has been awarded for nine projects through the Federal State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP) to assist in exploring new market opportunities for US food and agricultural products and to encourage research and innovation aimed at improving the efficiency and performance of the marketing system.