Farm Bill Passes, Includes $33 Million for FMPP

      Posted On: May 24, 2008

After traversing a long, circuitous route, including an override of the Presidential veto, the Farm Bill has finally passed, just ahead of the holiday weekend. FMC was among 1,054 organizations signing a letter in support of this override. See below for a brief outline of the portions of the bill most directly impacting farmers markets.

Farmers Market Promotion Program – $33 million over 5 years for organized farmers markets, non-profits, units of government, others

  • Provides one-year, competitively awarded grants of up to $75,000 to promote farmers’ markets through such projects as market development, Food Stamp implementation with the use of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Cards, promotion of market(s), start-up funds, etc.
  • Sets aside10% of annual funding for EBT implementation projects.
  • Annual funding: FY08: $3M; FY09 & FY10: $5M; FY11 & FY12: $10M.

Financing for Local Food Enterprises for businesses, producers, non-profits

  • Provides a prioritized pathway for entities involved in local food distribution and marketing to secure private-secure loans backed by a USDA loan guarantee (up to 90% guarantee rate) through the Rural Business and Industries Loan and Loan Guarantee program.
  • Includes a set-aside valued at 5% of program funds (approx. $50 million annually in loan guarantees at the current funding level).
  • The applicant must be in a USDA designated “rural” area. Includes a definition of “locally produced food.”

Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program – $20.6 million annually or low-income seniors to redeem at markets, roadside stands, and CSAs

  • Expands funding by $5.6 million annually, which may allow currently unfunded states and tribes to participate, or increase benefits to existing participating entities.
  • Continues to provide vouchers for fresh fruits and vegetables to low-income seniors purchased directly from participating farmers at farmers markets, roadside stands and community supported agriculture subscriptions, worth $10-$100 annually per recipient (amount varies by state/tribe).
  • It has benefited over 825,000 low-income seniors and 14,575 farmers annually.

Rural Micro-enterprise Assistance Program – New – $15 million over 4 years

  • Will assist rural entrepreneurs in establishing new small businesses in rural sectors with micro-financing loan of up to $50,000.
  • Annual funding levels: FY09-FY11: $4M; FY12 $3M. Additional discretionary authority of up to $40M annually.