Farm Bill Opportunity Alerts: Latest Roundup of Funding


There are several USDA application deadlines fast-approaching. Attached (and below) is our latest compilation of USDA funding and non-funding opportunities, including application deadlines and links to details. Please feel free to share this info with your networks, and as always, please be in touch if you are interested in partnering on outreach to spread the word. Shavaun


Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP)
$15 million is available in grants for direct-to-consumer outlets like farmers markets, community supported agriculture, pick your owns, agritourism, and other forms of direct marketing; another $15 million will be available in grants for local and regional food enterprises that are not direct farmer-to-consumer markets, including food hubs, food aggregators, food distributors, food wholesalers, food processors, and other value-added production enterprises, such as shared-use kitchens or kitchen incubator operations.
DEADLINE:  June 20


Rural Cooperative Development Grants (RCDG)
$5.8 million in grants are now available for non-profit corporations or higher education institutions for the purpose of establishing or enhancing centers for training in cooperative development.
DEADLINE: Electronic apps due June 26; hard-copy apps due June 30

Small Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grants (SSDPG)
$3 million is available in competitive grant funds for the Small Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grants (SSDPG) program.  For this subset of RCDG grants (above), eligible applicants include cooperatives and groups of cooperatives as well as cooperative development centers who will provide technical assistance to small, socially-disadvantaged agricultural producers in rural areas.
DEADLINE: Electronic apps due June 26; hard-copy apps due June 30


Risk Management Education Partnerships Program
This is a competitive cooperative partnership agreement program that provides crop insurance education and risk management training.  It aims to help agricultural producers identify and manage production, marketing, legal, financial, and human risk.  The program prioritizes educating producers of crops currently uninsured under Federal crop insurance, specialty crops, and underserved commodities, including livestock and forage.  It also prioritizes collaborative outreach and assistance programs for limited resource, socially disadvantaged, new and beginning and other traditionally under-served farmers and ranchers.

Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP)
USDA plans to award approximately $1.5 million for microlender technical assistance grants and $24 million in microloan funding.  RMAP provides grants and loans to intermediary Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs), who in turn help rural microentrepreneurs and microenterprises—very small rural businesses with 10 or fewer employees—with training, technical assistance, and microloans for business development. MDOs can include nonprofit entities, Indian tribes, or public institutions of higher education.
DEADLINE:  June 30


Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)
Grants and combination grant and guaranteed loan applications through REAP, the USDA is providing $12.4 million in renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grants for eligible farms and other rural businesses.  For renewable energy and energy efficiency system grants, the minimum grant is $2,500 and the maximum is $500,000.  For energy efficiency improvement grants, the minimum grant is $1,500 and the maximum grant is $250,000.  Applicants can also apply for a combination grant and guaranteed loan (see loan info in July 31 section).


Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)
This newly-created program is now accepting applications! (Remember, it was created by merging the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI), Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP), Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative (CBWI), and Great Lakes Conservation Initiative (GLCI)).  For fiscal years 2014 and 2015, nearly $400 million will be available through RCPP.


Local Foods, Local Places (LFLP)
LFLP is a new initiative that will provide technical support to rural communities to help them build strong local food systems as part of their community’s economic action plans.  A team of ag, transportation, environmental, and regional economic experts will work directly with the selected communities to develop comprehensive strategies that use local food systems to meet their specific needs.  $650,000 has been invested in the program.  All communities in the United States are eligible to apply, and particular consideration will be given to areas in the Appalachia and Delta regions.


Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) – Guaranteed Loans
Through REAP, the USDA is providing $57.8 million for renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement guaranteed loans.  The minimum guaranteed loan amount is $5,000 and the maximum amount of a guaranteed loan to be provided to a borrower is $25 million. Applicants can also apply for a combination grant and guaranteed loan (see grant info in the July 7 section.


Conservation Reserve Program – Transition Incentives Program (CRP-TIP)
Funding available  to provide financial incentives to retiring farmers, ranchers, and landowners enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program if they opt to transfer a portion of their land currently enrolled in CRP to beginning, socially disadvantaged, or veteran farmers through CRP-TIP.  Landowners with expiring CRP contracts are able to receive an additional two years of CRP payments on land that is sold or leased to a beginning, socially disadvantaged or veteran farmer.  
SIGN UP: Sign up for both CCRP and CRP-TIP will begin June 9.  Contact your local FSA office to apply for funding.


WIC fruit and veggie voucher value increased
Good news: WIC cash value voucher (CVVs) benefits for fruits and vegetables for children have increased from $6 to $8 per month.  Lots of details in this blog post on how the program works: Only 18 states have opted to authorize FARMERS to accept these vouchers! Michigan was one of the 18 – there’s a map that shows which states opted in. If your state was NOT one that opted to allow farmers & farmers markets to accept WIC vouchers, it’s a really straightforward state-level ask that could have a big benefit for farmers. Contact us for more info.

Whole Farm Revenue Insurance is on its way…
…At least in some states and counties!  The policy in development has been approved – though we will not see the full detailed policy until August or September.  It will be available for the 2015 insurance year in the designated locations and as soon as we get details we will share them ASAP so we can get to work on outreach!  You can get some preliminary info here:

Stay up-to-date on these and other opportunities by signing up for the NSAC Alert List and/or Weekly Roundup: