USDA Opens Latest Round of Funding to Support Local and Regional Food Economy Development Projects


USDA Opens Latest Round of Funding to Support Local and Regional Food Economy Development Projects

March 11, 2022


USDA Opens Latest Round of Funding to Support Local and Regional Food Economy Development Projects
Photo credit: Lindsey Scalera

On March 1, 2022 the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announced the latest round of grant funding for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) and Regional Food Systems Partnership (RFSP) program. As part of the announcement USDA is supplementing the programs’ farm bill funding with a total of $130 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act funding over the next two grant cycles. The supplemental funding is aimed at expanding the program’s support for farm to institution marketing opportunities, such as universities, hospitals, and settings operated by local, tribal, and state governments. 

The deadline to apply for the FMLFPP and RFSP program is Monday, May 16, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time via  www.grants.gov.

The FMLFPP and RFSP programs are both part of the larger umbrella program, the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP), which was established in the 2018 Farm Bill to streamline and provide permanent baseline funding status for existing efforts to build and expand local and regional food and agriculture markets.

2022 Grant Cycle 

FMLFPP and RFSP are both administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMA). For the current grant cycle that opened on March 1, a total of $97 million in competitive grant funding is available through the FMLFPP and RFSP programs to help local and regional food entities develop, coordinate, and expand producer-to-consumer marketing, local and regional food markets, and local food enterprises. 

FMLFPP is administered as two subprograms – the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) – with a separate Request for Applications (RFA) for each subprogram. RFSP has its own separate RFA that can be found here

The ARP funding that supplements the farm bill funding is targeted toward expanding support for farm to institution marketing opportunities and is only available through LFPP and RFSP but not FMPP. 

The following table created by AMS illustrates how the supplemental funding is allocated relative to existing farm bill funding. In addition to the ARP funding and farm bill funding, FMPP and LFPP will likely receive additional funding once the FY22 consolidated appropriations act is enacted, which includes an additional $7.4 million for FMLFPP. 

Funding Type FMPP LFPP RFSP Total
Farm Bill $13.5M $13.5M $5M $32M
ARP $30M $35M $65M
Total $13.5M $43.5M $40M $97M

Notable Changes to RFAs and 2022 Process

Overall Application Process

As part of larger efforts to streamline federal grant making processes, the 2022 FMLFPP and RFSP program cycle includes an important and noteworthy change. Before applying, applicants must obtain a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number and be registered and maintain registration in the federal System for Awards Management (SAM). Previously, an applicant had to obtain a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and separately maintain a SAM registration. 

The UEI is assigned by SAM as part of the registration process and replaces the DUNS number. To register with SAM and receive a UEI, go to https://www.sam.gov/ SAM/

The process is fairly straightforward, but it can take 2 to 5 weeks before a new SAM registration is active and valid. Therefore, it is highly recommended that this is one of the first steps a prospective applicant takes.

You can find more information about this transition on the GSA’s Unique Entity Identifier Update webpage.

Matching Requirements

For this round of funding the matching fund requirements for FMPP, LFPP and RFSP are restored to the normal farm bill level. This means that 25% of the total grant funding must be matched with other resources. The requirements had been reduced to 10% for a portion of the funding in the previous grant cycle as part of pandemic response and recovery efforts. 

LFPP – New Project Type

Normally there are two available project types for LFPP grants, “planning projects” and “implementation projects.” As part of supplementing the program with ARP funds, AMS has a new project type through this funding opportunity: Farm to Institution. 

Farm to Institution projects support the development, coordination, and expansion of institutional markets or institutional food service operations, such as pre-K through grade 12 schools, college, university, hospital, local government, tribal, and state cafeterias or meal programs, through local and regional producers and local and regional food enterprises that engage as intermediaries. For more information about the new project type, check out the program’s RFA here

RFSP – New Project Type

Normally there are two available project types for RFSP grants, “planning and design projects” and “implementation and expansion projects.” As part of supplementing the program with ARP funds, AMS has a new project type through this funding opportunity: Farm to Institution.

Farm to Institution projects support the development, coordination, and expansion of institutional markets or institutional food service operations, such as pre-K through grade 12 schools, college, university, hospital, local government, tribal, and state cafeterias or meal programs, through local and regional producers and local and regional food enterprises that engage as intermediaries. For more information about the new project type, check out the program’s RFA here

Resources for Prospective Applicants

For more information about grant eligibility, the applications process, previously awarded projects and frequently asked questions, visit the AMS FMPP webpage, LFPP webpage or RFSP webpage.

AMS is also hosting webinars for prospective applications to FMLFPP and RFSP. Information about those webinars can be found here and below.

Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) Applicant Webinar  

When: Tuesday, April 5, 2022, 1:00 PM Eastern Time  

Topic: US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced $ 57 million in competitive grant funding for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) to expand direct producer-to-consumer markets and local and regional food business enterprises. Register for this webinar.  

Regional Food System Partnerships (RFSP) Applicant Webinar  

When: Wednesday, April 6, 2022, 1:00 PM Eastern Time  

Topic: US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced $40 million in competitive grant funding for the Regional Food System Partnerships Program (RFSP) to explore new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products, and to encourage resilience and development of local or regional food systems. Register for this webinar.  

Peer Review Panels

Every year, USDA seeks members of the public to serve on their grant peer review panels. Peer review panels help USDA review grant applications and recommend which projects should receive funding. Grant reviewers, typically people with academic, non-profit, and/or on the ground agriculture-related experience, help to ensure that the projects funded advance the goals of the program. 

If you are interested in being part of this process and bringing your sustainable agriculture knowledge to the reviewers’ table, please consider volunteering for a FMLFPP or RFSP peer review panel. AMS’s peer reviewer application sign-up portal can be found here. If your organization is not planning to apply or in the end does not submit an application, please consider signing up to be a peer reviewer. 


Categories:
Carousel, General Interest, Grants and Programs, Local & Regional Food Systems, Rural Development


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