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NMSU presents USDA grant application workshop to support local food production

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 across the nation this spring through a unique collaboration between federal, state and regional partners.

New Mexico State University?s Cooperative Extension Service, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture?s Western Regional Center for Rural Development, is partnering with the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service and National Institute for Food and Agriculture to conduct workshops in New Mexico.

This effort is known as the Agricultural Marketing Service Technical Assistance Project.

Workshops will be held in Albuquerque on March 24, Las Cruces on March 25, Farmington on April 10 and Roswell on April 21. All of the workshops will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

With $30 million authorized annually by the Agricultural Act of 2014, better known as the Farm Bill, through fiscal year 2018, AMS?s 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.

?The Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program is a key to U.S. Department of Agriculture?s efforts to revitalize rural economies by supporting local and regional food systems,? said Anne Alonzo, AMS administrator. ?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.?

NIFA is coordinating the workshops through the Regional Rural Development Centers. Cooperative Extension Service 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. A list of upcoming grant workshop dates and locations can be found at http://www.amsta.net.

In New Mexico the workshops will be:
? Albuquerque: Tuesday, March 24, at the NMSU Albuquerque Center, 4501 Indian School Rd. NE, Albuquerque. Visit http://rsvp.nmsu.edu/rsvp/grantwriting-alb to register.
? Las Cruces: Wednesday, March 25, at the Dona Ana County Extension office, 530 N. Church St., Las Cruces. Visit http://rsvp.nmsu.edu/rsvp/grantwriting-lascruces to register.
? Farmington: Friday, April 10, at McGee Park, San Juan County Fairgrounds, 41 County Road 5568, Farmington. Visit http://rsvp.nmsu.edu/rsvp/grantwriting-farmington to register.
? Roswell: Tuesday, April 21, at Chaves County Extension office, 200 E. Chisum #4, Roswell. Visit http://rsvp.nmsu.edu/rsvp/grantwriting-roswell to register.

For more information, contact the local Cooperative Extension Service county office. For the Albuquerque workshop, contact the Extension office in Bernalillo County, 505-243-1386; Sandoval County, 505-8670-2582; Valencia County, 505-565-3002; or Socorro County, 575-835-0610.

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 on the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass available at www.usda.gov. For more information on AMS, visit www.ams.usda.gov, and for more on NIFA, visit www.nifa.usda.gov.