Grant-writing workshops designed to help potential applicants understand, develop and submit their federal grant applications for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program are being offered in every state this spring through a unique collaboration between federal, state and regional partners.

Nebraska Extension, in collaboration with the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, is partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to conduct workshops in Nebraska. This effort is known as the Agricultural Marketing Service Technical Assistance Project.

Here are the dates, times and locations of the workshops:

  • March 31, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., University of Nebraska-Lincoln Agricultural Research and Development Center, 1071 County Road G, Ithaca
  • April 8, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Kearney Holiday Inn, 110 S. Second Ave., Kearney
  • April 16, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Lifelong Learning Center, 601 E. Benjamin Ave., Suite 104, Norfolk

The workshops are free, but pre-registration is required. Participants can pre-register or get more information by contacting Gary Lesoing via email at glesoing2@unl.edu or by calling Nebraska Extension in Nemaha County at 402-274-4755. Lunch will be provided. Space may be limited.

"The Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program is 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."

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture is coordinating the workshops through the Regional Rural Development Centers, and extension educators will provide training in all regions of the country. NIFA and all partners will conduct outreach to raise awareness of AMS grant opportunities and increase participation in the programs.

With $30 million authorized annually by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill) through fiscal year 2018, AMS' Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program awards competitive grants to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local and regional markets. The Farmers Market Promotion Program supports farmers markets and other direct producer-to-consumer activities, while the Local Food Promotion Program supports enterprises that aggregate, store, distribute and process local and regional food.

These investments are part of USDA's commitment to strengthening local and regional food systems through projects that recruit and train farmers, expand economic opportunities and increase access to healthy foods. USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative coordinates USDA's support for local and regional food systems. Projects aligned with these efforts can be found at http://www.usda.gov/kyfcompass. For more information on AMS, visit http://www.ams.usda.gov. For more on NIFA, visit http://www.nifa.usda.gov.

Gary Lesoing
Nemaha County Extension Educator
402-274-4755
gary.lesoing@unl.edu