Trainings offer edge to farmers market grant applicants

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 at six Indiana locations, including one in Hancock County.

The Purdue Extension — Hancock County, in collaboration with the Purdue Local Food Program and the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, is partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service and National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to conduct the grant-writing workshops in Indiana.

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

The Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program is a key to USDA’s efforts to revitalize rural economies by supporting local and regional food systems. The grant workshops will ensure that more communities and businesses 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.

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture is coordinating the workshops through the Regional Rural Development Centers. Cooperative extension system educators will provide training in all regions of the country.

In Indiana, Purdue educators will conduct outreach to raise awareness of AMS grant opportunities and increase participation in the programs.

A list of all upcoming grant workshop dates and locations can be found at

The 2015-16 call for applications is expected to be announced after May 1 even though the specific release date has yet to be announced. In anticipation of this pending announcement, now is the time for potential applicants to familiarize themselves and be ready to submit a well thought-out application that will meet the grant requirements and be favorably reviewed.

The program actually has two separate divisions.

The Farmers Market Promotion Program seeks to provide funding to support traditional farmers markets and other direct producer-to-consumer activities.

On the other hand the Local Food Promotion Program supports enterprises often referred to as “intermediaries,” such as food hubs that aggregate, store, distribute and/or process local and regional food products of multiple farmers. Separate funding pools are provided for each, and somewhat different rules apply.

With $30 million authorized annually by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (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.

Our Indiana workshops will enable Hoosier grant writers to submit high-quality grant applications to support farmers markets and local food system projects within Indiana.

Workshop times and locations:

March 26, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Jackson County Courthouse, Suite 10, 111 S. Main St., Brownstown.

March 31, 3 to 8 p.m.: Allen County Extension Office, 4001 Crescent Ave., Fort Wayne.

April 7, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Hancock County, 802 N. Apple St., Greenfield.

April 16, 1 to 6 p.m.: LaPorte County Extension Office, Suite A, 2857 W. State Road 2, LaPorte.

While there is no cost to attend any of the Indiana workshops, participants are asked to register. Those interested in participating should visit

For questions about meeting location information or about registering for the Hancock County training, contact Roy Ballard Purdue Extension Educator for Agriculture in Hancock County at or call 317-462-1113.

Roy Ballard is an agriculture and natural resources educator with the Hancock County office of Purdue Extension ( Contact him at 317-462-1113 or