Release No: 023-17
Applications for Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program and Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program
WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2017 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced it is seeking reviewers to evaluate grant applications for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) and the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP). Local food grants strengthen America’s rural communities by supporting direct farm-to-consumer markets and local food enterprises.
All interested agricultural professionals are invited to apply to become a grant reviewer. Reviewers will apply their knowledge and expertise to score the grant applications. The deadline to apply to become a reviewer is March 20, 2017. AMS will contact selected FMLFPP reviewers in mid-April and FSMIP reviewers in late April. Non-federal reviewers for both programs will be compensated for their service.
FMLFPP reviewers are expected to have operational knowledge of local food direct-to-consumer marketing and background in agriculture, retail, or farm-to-table marketing. The FMLFPP review period is approximately six weeks from late April to mid-June, 2017. Each reviewer will contribute 35 to 45 hours. Reviewers will receive a general orientation by conference call and a mandatory training by webinar in late April. FMLFPP reviewers serve in 3-member teams and follow a pre-set scoring system, with each person reviewing 15 to 20 proposals. Team leaders will receive additional training. At the end of the evaluation period, reviewers will participate in an online group consensus review to summarize comments and submit a final score.
FSMIP supports applied research to explore new market opportunities and efficiency for U.S. food and agricultural producers. FSMIP reviewers can include individuals from the federal government, state universities and colleges, state departments of agriculture and other appropriate state agencies. Reviewers are expected to have general knowledge of agricultural marketing, applied economics or marketing experience for farmers and ranchers. Also, FSMIP reviewers should have specialized knowledge on topics such as food safety, consumer economics, foreign market development, labeling, post-harvest handling and/or transportation. The FSMIP website contains a complete list of expertise needed. FSMIP reviewers will have 4 to 5 weeks beginning in early May to review up to 10 applications, each consisting of a 10-page narrative plus supporting materials. Reviewers serve in 3-member teams to evaluate proposals grouped together by a common topic or theme. Reviewers will receive a general orientation by conference call. Team leaders will receive additional training.
Applicants for FY2017 FMLFPP or FSMIP grants are not eligible to serve as reviewers. Reviewers will not evaluate proposals for which they – or their organizations – have a conflict of interest. Reviewers must sign a conflict of interest and confidentiality agreement to refrain from sharing information about the process, the applications, and the outcomes during and after the evaluation period.