USDA announced 27 matching grants totaling $1,333,530 that support agricultural market research and demonstration projects are being awarded to 25 states.
The following grants are being made as part of the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program:
Arkansas - $51,455 to the Arkansas State Plant Board, in cooperation with Winrock International, to identify direct marketing opportunities for sheep and goat producers in western Arkansas and surrounding states and to assist the producers in implementing innovative marketing strategies to sell their livestock and livestock products.
California - $48,920 to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, in cooperation with industry partners, to explore opportunities to increase air cargo shipments of high-value fresh U.S. produce in backhaul flights to Asia. A second grant of $90,000 is awarded to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, in cooperation with the California Association of Food Banks, to develop marketing processes to distribute good quality cull produce to food banks statewide in order to improve the nutritional status of low-income consumers and provide a new source of income for produce growers.
Colorado - $36,170 to the Colorado Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with Colorado State University, to conduct research on consumer preferences, tourism infrastructure, and promotional strategies needed to strengthen the region's agritourism.
Florida - $49,955 to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in cooperation with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, to conduct consumer research and develop a marketing strategy to establish sub-tropical peaches as an alternative tree fruit crop in Florida.
Georgia - $99,270 to the Georgia Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the University of Georgia National Center for Peanut Competitiveness, the Georgia Federal-State Shipping Point Inspection Service, Inc., the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Peanuts, the American Peanut Shellers Association, and the National Peanut Buying Points Association, to explore possible changes to the current peanut grading system in order to improve quality determination, lower costs, and increase efficiency.
Hawaii - $28,500 to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Hawaii Cooperative of Organic Farmers, the Hawaii Organic Farmers Association, and the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center, to develop protocols for the production and marketing of certified organic seed from native Hawaiian fruit and vegetable varieties.
Idaho - $45,000 to the Idaho Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Idaho Barley Commission and the National Barley Foods Council, to develop educational materials for health professionals, food manufacturers, and consumers, and create a marketing program for barley foods based on health benefits the Food and Drug Administration officially recognized in December 2005.
Kentucky - $52,610 to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Kentucky State University Aquaculture Research Center and industry partners, to explore the market for high-value smoked products from farm-raised catfish, hybrid striped bass, and paddlefish.
Maryland - $42,500 to the Maryland Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with state government and industry partners, to conduct a feasibility study for an animal quarantine facility at Baltimore-Washington Airport to facilitate international shipments of livestock to and from the Mid-Atlantic region.
Massachusetts - $36,670 to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, in cooperation with the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Mount Wachusett Community College, and the Massachusetts Woodlands Cooperative, to identify barriers to expanding local production and marketing of forest products, and develop a strategic plan to address them.
Michigan - $41,245 to the Michigan Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with Michigan State University, to identify strategies for farmers markets managers, vendors, and public policy makers to increase the number and diversity of customers at farmers markets in the state, with a focus on consumer groups that currently do not shop at farmers markets.
Minnesota - $85,600 to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Midwest Shipper's Association, to examine the feasibility of establishing intermodal terminals on regional and short line railroads, and to quantify the potential costs and benefits to producers in Minnesota and surrounding states.
Mississippi - $50,425 to the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, in cooperation with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and Mississippi State University, to identify key quality characteristics of freshwater prawns to use in marketing the product to consumers and high-end restaurants in the Central South region of the United States.
Missouri - $27,325 to the Curators of the University of Missouri on behalf of the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station, in cooperation with the Missouri Soybean Association, the Missouri Department of Agriculture, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the U.S. Soybean Export Council, Missouri Food and Fiber, and 1Soy, to assess the market for identity-preserved soybeans and soy ingredients in India, including potential volume and product form preferences, infrastructure and import requirements, and transportation costs.
New Mexico - $12,300 to the New Mexico Department of Agriculture to identify new opportunities for farmers in central and northern New Mexico to sell their products to institutions in the Santa Fe and Albuquerque metro areas.
New York - $50,365 to Cornell University on behalf of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, to survey suppliers of perishable products to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast markets regarding logistical and economic opportunities and challenges, and prepare case studies of successful marketing programs that distribute locally-grown fruit, vegetables, floriculture, dairy, and meat products.
North Dakota - $45,000 to the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the North Dakota State University Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, the North Dakota Wheat Commission and industry partners, to assess quality assurance programs for the North Dakota grain elevator supply chain, and develop and implement a quality control program.
Pennsylvania - $50,000 to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to assess the feasibility of using the state's emergency assistance food program as an alternative outlet for fresh produce that is not sold through retail channels.
South Dakota - $92,680 to South Dakota State University to conduct a comprehensive study of corn, wheat, and soybean production, and of marketing and transportation trends and patterns in the state.
Texas - $19,740 to the Texas Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with Sam Houston State University, to identify barriers faced by producers in adopting organic production methods and attaining organic certification, and develop strategies to address these challenges. A second grant of $46,000 is awarded to the Texas Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with Texas Tech University, to study and address issues of quality, marketing, and handling to improve the efficiency and profitability of the specialty hides market.
Vermont - $44,000 to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, in cooperation with five New England state agriculture departments and industry partners, to assist Northeast farmers to develop fresh-cut fruit and vegetable snacks, and conduct pilot projects to assess consumer and institutional acceptance of these products.
Virginia - $45,710 to the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University on behalf of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station, in cooperation with Texas A&M University, to analyze the market for organic dairy products, focusing on consumer demand and the organic milk marketing structure.
Washington - $53,600 to the Washington State Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Idaho Department of Agriculture, the Oregon Department of Agriculture, and the Potato Commissions of Washington, Oregon and Idaho, to prepare a technical guide for snack food manufacturers and conduct on-site technical seminars in selected Central American markets to inform processors and importers about the qualities of Northwest chipping and fresh tablestock potatoes.
West Virginia - $43,000 to the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with West Virginia State University, several state agencies, and industry and economic development organizations, to disseminate agritourism resources and training tools to new and existing agritourism operators, develop a statewide agritourism network, and prepare a unified, long-term marketing strategy to develop the state's agritourism sector.
Wyoming - $45,490 to the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Wyoming Rural Development Council, ICAST, the University of Wyoming and industry partners, to evaluate new and existing markets for co-products of biodiesel production, and to formulate a strategy for seed crushing mills and biodiesel producers in Colorado and Wyoming to gain access to these markets.