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Wyo gets ag marketing system grants

Wyo gets ag marketing system grants

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wyo gets ag marketing system grants
By Wyoma Groenenberg - Wyoming Business Report

CHEYENNE — The Wyoming Department of Agriculture received $36,225 to increase the quantity and variety of locally grown food and agricultural products going to Wyoming public schools.

The department will work in cooperation with the Wyoming Community Network, according to Department of Agriculture Director Jason Fearneyhough.

“In Wyoming, we want to find ways to get locally grown foods (such as beef and produce) into the schools. We will try to educate about the opportunities” for the Wyoming school districts to buy these foods instead of purchasing everything from federal programs, Fearneyhough told the Business Report.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded 25 grants to 19 states and Puerto Rico to help create economic opportunities for American producers and businesses.

Under the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP), USDA is matching $1.3 million worth of state grants to state departments of agriculture, state agricultural experiment stations and other appropriate state agencies to assist in exploring new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products and to encourage research and innovation aimed at improving the marketing system.

Fearneyhough said his department will be meeting with school districts to learn what each one’s specific needs are and then work with local producers to see if they can meet that demand.

Wyoming’s grant was matched in part by in-kind donations, as well as 21 percent of the total (which sometimes is used as overhead costs, but not allowed by the USDA), the director said.

“FSMIP provides our state partners with matching funds to explore new and innovative approaches to marketing U.S. food and agricultural products,” said USDA Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. “USDA supports state and local projects, ranging from research to retail to ensure that quality American products are marketed efficiently and effectively.”

More information about the program is available at www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/FSMIP.

Wyoming Business Report