Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Arkansas Extension Service to partner with USDA for grant writing workshops in support of local food producers

LITTLE ROCK — Trainers with the Cooperative Extension Service will be conducting a series of grant-writing workshops around Arkansas to help potential applicants navigate the federal grant application program for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program.

The program is being offered through Cooperative Extension Service offices in every state. In Arkansas, state trainers Stacey McCullough, director of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Public Policy Center, and Iris Crosby, an extension associate with University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, will lead five workshops in April.

Cooperative Extension Service offices in Hempstead, Craighead, Washington, Lee and Jefferson counties are partnering with the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and National Institute for Food and Agriculture to conduct five workshops in April. This effort is known as the Agricultural Marketing Service Technical Assistance (AMSTA) Project.

The current schedule of workshops includes:

April 13: Hope. 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope, 2500 S. Main St. The workshop will be held in Hempstead Hall. Lunch will be included.

Register at: https://uaex.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1Xt9kpEM4eVZEIB  

April 14: Jonesboro. 12:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. at the Craighead County Cooperative Extension Service Office, located at 611 E. Washington Ave., Ste. A.

Register at: https://uaex.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_7Qf0b3In7sLEV8h  

April 16: Fayetteville. 12:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. in the University of Arkansas Food and Science Dept., rooms D1 and D2, at 2650 N. Young Ave.

Register at: https://uaex.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5aNzv9QpNHps0pD  

Also on April 16: Marianna. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the UAPB Agri Demonstration & Outreach Center at 330 Lee County Rd. 407. Lunch will be provided.

To register, contact Iris Crosby at adoc@uapb.edu or by calling (870)2953199.

April 28: Pine Bluff. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Campus, in the auditorium of the 1890 Extension Building. Lunch will be provided.

To register, contact Iris Crosby at adoc@uapb.edu or by calling (870)2953199.

Agricultural Marketing Service administrator Anne Alonzo said the programs are key components of the USDA’s efforts to revitalize rural economies by supporting local and regional food systems.

“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,” Alonzo said.

“These interactive workshops will help participants think through development of their project ideas and incorporate successful writing strategies into their grant proposals,” McCullough said.

With $30 million authorized annually by the 2014 Farm Bill through fiscal year 2018, AMS's Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program awards competitive grants to develop new 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 (KYF2) 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. For more information on AMS visit www.ams.usda.gov, and for more on NIFA visit www.nifa.usda.gov.

For further information on upcoming workshops, contact Stacey McCullough at smccullough@uaex.edu or by calling (501)-671-2078; or Iris Crosby at adoc@uapb.edu or by calling (870)2953199.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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