Grants Support Grass-fed Beef Project

USDA offers up nearly $1 million to support farmers markets.

Acting Agriculture Sec. Chuck Conner has announced 23 grants totaling $900,000 under the Farmers Market Promotion Program. The awards will aid local governments, nonprofit and economic development corporations and agricultural cooperatives in 16 states and the District of Columbia. Funds will support projects that establish, expand and promote farmers markets and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities.

Included in the grants is $32,572 to the Small Farm Institute, Fresno, Ohio. The money will help grass-based beef producers market their products directly to consumers at farmers markets. The institute will be by conducting a series of workshops to identify strategies for production, processing, preparation and marketing grass-fed beef products.

"Farmers markets are increasingly becoming a larger and more integral part of our rural and urban communities," Conner says. "We support this community spirit that helps increase farmer revenues, and provides consumers with fresh, local farm products."

The Farmers Market Promotion Program is designed to provide assistance to local farmers markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture in an effort to increase domestic consumption of agricultural commodities and improve farmers' income. The grants are authorized under the amended Farmer-to-Consumer Direct Marketing Act of 1976.

In this second year of funding, USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service administers the program.

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