[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 67 (Friday, April 6, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 20779-20781]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-8395]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

[Doc AMS-TM-12-0004; TM-12-01]


Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) Inviting Applications for the 
2012 Farmers' Market Promotion Program (FMPP)

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announces the 
availability of approximately $10 million in competitive grant funds 
for fiscal year (FY) 2012 to increase domestic consumption of 
agricultural commodities by expanding direct producer-to-consumer 
market opportunities. Examples of direct producer-to-consumer market 
opportunities include new farmers markets, roadside stands, community-
supported agriculture (CSA) programs, agri-tourism activities, and 
other direct producer-to-consumer infrastructures. AMS hereby requests 
proposals from eligible entities within the following categories: 
Agricultural cooperatives, producer networks, producer associations, 
local governments, nonprofit corporations, public benefit corporations, 
economic development corporations, regional farmers market authorities, 
and Tribal governments. Based on the available funding, AMS will award 
the most competitive applications that demonstrate measurable, outcome-
based strategies that help increase farmers' or agricultural producers' 
revenue through direct producer to consumer marketing opportunities. 
The minimum award per grant is $5,000 and the maximum award per grant 
is $100,000. No matching funds are required.

DATES: Applications should be received and accepted,\1\ via Grants.gov, 
not later than May 21, 2012. Applications received after the deadline 
will not be considered.
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    \1\ Note that it may take Grants.gov up to 48 hours to send an 
email confirming that the application was received and validated by 
the Grants.gov system. The application must have been received by 
Grants.gov prior to the FMPP deadline.

ADDRESSES: The 2012 Farmers' Market Promotion Program (FMPP), 
Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, Room 4509-South Building, 1400 
Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC, 20250-0269, phone (202) 720-
0933.
    AMS will only accept application packages submitted via http://www.Grants.gov. AMS will not accept application packages by mail, hand 
delivery, email, or fax. Except for the submission of multiple 
applications (for instance, an EBT and a non-EBT project), all forms, 
narrative, letters of support, and other required materials must be 
forwarded in one application package. AMS strongly recommends that each 
applicant visit the AMS Web site at http://www.ams.usda.gov/FMPP to 
review a copy of the 2012 FMPP Guidelines and application instructions 
prior to preparing the proposal narrative and application.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Carmen Humphrey, Branch Chief, 
Marketing Grants and Technical Services Branch, Marketing Services 
Division, Transportation and Marketing Programs, AMS, USDA, on (202) 
720-0933, or via facsimile on (202) 690-4152. State that your request 
for information refers to Docket No. TM-12-01.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This solicitation is issued pursuant to 
Section 6 of the Farmer-to-Consumer Direct Marketing Act of 1976 (7 
U.S.C. 3001-3006) as amended.\2\ The amended act states that the 
purposes of the FMPP are ``(A) to increase domestic

[[Page 20780]]

consumption of agricultural commodities by improving and expanding, or 
assisting in the improvement and expansion of domestic farmers markets, 
roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agri-tourism 
activities and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities; 
and (B) to develop, or aid in the development of new farmers markets, 
roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agri-tourism 
activities, and other direct producer-to-consumer marketing 
opportunities.''
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    \2\ Section 10605 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act 
of 2002 (Pub. L. 107-171) authorizing the establishment of the 
Farmers' Market Promotion Program (7 U.S.C. 3005) (FMPP) and as 
amended by section 10106 of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 
2008 (Pub. L. 110-246).
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    Detailed program guidelines may be obtained at http://www.ams.usda.gov/FMPP or from the contact listed above. In accordance 
with the Secretary's Statement of Policy (36 FR 13804), it is found and 
determined upon good cause that it is impracticable, unnecessary, and 
contrary to the public interest to engage in further public 
participation under 5 U.S.C 553 because the applications for the FMPP 
need to be made available as soon as possible as the program season 
approaches.

Background

    AMS will grant awards for projects that assist in developing, 
promoting, and expanding direct marketing of agricultural commodities 
from farmers to consumers. Eligible FMPP proposals should support 
marketing entities where agricultural farmers or vendors sell their own 
products directly to consumers, and the sales of these farm products 
represent the core business of the entity. Proprietary projects and 
projects that benefit one agricultural producer or individual will not 
be considered.
    All eligible entities shall be entities owned, operated, and 
located within one or more of the 50 United States, the District of 
Columbia, or the U.S. territories.\3\
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    \3\ U.S. territories include: The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, 
Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth 
of the Northern Mariana Islands.
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    Additionally, eligible entities must apply for FMPP funds on behalf 
of direct marketing operators that include two or more agricultural 
farmers/vendors that produce and sell their own products through a 
common distribution channel. Individual agricultural producers and sole 
proprietors, including farmers and farmers market vendors, roadside 
stand operators, community-supported agriculture participants, and 
other individual direct marketers are not eligible for FMPP funds.
    FMPP grant funds that are requested must support the specific 
programs and objectives identified in the application. In addition, all 
applications submitted under FMPP must include measurable, outcome-
based strategies that describe how the project will achieve the goals 
identified in the application. Budget items that do not directly 
support these objectives will not be funded.
    In a coordinated effort to enhance healthy food access in urban and 
rural areas in the United States, AMS is giving funding priority to the 
development and expansion of direct producer-to-consumer marketing 
outlets that sell healthy foods in food deserts (areas with limited 
access to affordable and nutritious food, particularly areas composed 
of predominantly lower-income neighborhoods and communities) or low-
income areas (where the percentage of the population living in poverty 
is at least 20 percent). Under FMPP, healthy foods include whole foods 
such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat free or low-fat dairy, 
and lean meats that are perishable (fresh, refrigerated, or frozen) or 
canned as well as nutrient-dense foods and beverages encouraged by the 
2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (see http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-PolicyDocument.htm for more information). Direct producer-to-
consumer marketing outlets will include, but not be limited to, farmers 
markets, CSAs, and road-side stands.
    These projects will receive five additional points under FMPP if, 
in addition to meeting all the other established criteria for FMPP 
projects, they are located in one of the USDA-identified food desert 
census tracts or they are located in a low-income area (as reported in 
the most recently completed decennial census published by the U.S. 
Bureau of the Census). For additional information, see the 2012 FMPP 
Guidelines at http://www.ams.usda.gov/FMPP.
    Not less than 10 percent of the total available funds will be used 
to support the use of new electronic benefits transfer (EBT) for 
Federal nutrition programs at farmers markets. To be considered within 
the 10 percent allotment of funds for EBT, the application narrative 
must clearly designate the applicant's intent to compete for FMPP funds 
as a new EBT project. FMPP funds shall be provided to successful 
proposals that demonstrate a plan to continue to provide EBT card 
access at one or more farmers markets following the completion of the 
grant.
    When an applicant has multiple project goals, AMS requires that 
similar proposals be submitted in the application package. Due to the 
legislative mandate, the Agency differentiates projects as EBT-related 
or non EBT-related submissions. As such, all non-EBT projects must be 
submitted in one application and all new or existing EBT-related 
projects submitted in a second, distinctly separate application. For 
applicants submitting two or more applications, such applications must 
not contain the same or substantially the same narrative, logic model, 
or budget narrative. Each application must include distinctly separate 
information with an explanation of the goals and corresponding budget 
requests for each project submitted. Failure to comply with this 
requirement will result in the rejection of one or all of the 
applicant's proposals. Visit the 2012 FMPP Guidelines at http://www.ams.usda.gov/FMPP for instructions on submitting multiple 
applications.
    While there is no limit to the number of applications that may be 
submitted, AMS will only award a maximum of one grant per organization 
in a funding year. Awardees from the FY 2011 grant program will not be 
considered for FMPP funding in FY 2012.
    FMPP reserves the right to reject an application that is 
incomplete, does not follow the application requirements (i.e., is 
hand-written or in excess of the required page limitation), or propose 
activities that do not meet FMPP goals and objectives. Application 
packages without all of the required information will not be 
considered. FMPP's award decisions are final.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, (44 U.S.C. 
Chapter 35), the FMPP information collection was previously approved by 
OMB and was assigned OMB control number 0581-0235.
    AMS is committed to compliance with the Government Paperwork 
Elimination Act (GPEA) that requires Government agencies in general to 
provide the public the option of submitting information or transacting 
business electronically to the maximum extent possible.

How To Submit Proposals and Applications

    Each applicant must follow the application preparation and 
submission instructions provided within the 2012 FMPP Guidelines 
located at http://www.ams.usda.gov/FMPP. Forms, proposals, letters of 
support, or any other application materials (electronic or hard-copy) 
that are emailed, faxed, mailed, or hand-delivered directly to AMS-
FMPP, AMS, or USDA staff will not be accepted.

[[Page 20781]]

    Applicants will have only one submission method for proposals and 
applications to AMS--electronically through Grants.gov at http://www.Grants.gov (enter 10.168 in grant search field). AMS strongly 
encourages the applicant to initiate the electronic submission process 
at least four weeks prior to the application deadline. In cases where 
an applicant error has been made in Grants.gov, an early submission 
will ensure the appropriate time for the applicant to resubmit the 
application. Grants.gov applicants are not required to submit any paper 
documents to FMPP.
    Any documents accompanying the application (acceptable written 
proof of eligibility, proposal narrative, budget(s), and other 
supporting documents) must be uploaded after item 15 
(descriptive title of applicant's project section) on the Grants.gov 
form SF-424. FMPP prefers that all accompanying documents and support 
materials be scanned as a single PDF file; however, other acceptable 
formats include MS-Word (for text documents) and MS-Excel (for 
spreadsheet documents). Failure to comply with this requirement will 
result in rejection of the application.
    FMPP will not accept corrections or additions to Grants.gov 
submissions, including corrections submitted by phone, fax, mail, hand-
delivery, or electronic mail to AMS. All documentation accompanying 
each application must be submitted in the Grants.gov application 
package. The only means of making a correction or addition to a 
Grants.gov application is by re-submitting a new application prior to 
the deadline.
    AMS/FMPP staff will not extend the application deadline or accept 
any application after the deadline due to Grants.gov submission errors. 
Additionally, AMS/FMPP staff does not provide technical assistance with 
the Grants.gov related issues. Applicants experiencing problems in 
electronic submission of documentation must request assistance via the 
Grants.gov Web site, or telephone the Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726. 
Grants.gov will provide confirmation to the applicant that the 
application was submitted and received by AMS before the deadline. AMS 
will email the organization's authorized representative (as listed on 
the SF-424) an explanation if the application is being rejected.
    FMPP is listed in the ``Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance'' 
under number 10.168. Subject agencies, including FMPP, must adhere to 
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars discrimination in 
all federally assisted programs.

    Dated: April 3, 2012.
Robert C. Keeney,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2012-8395 Filed 4-5-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P