September 29, 2014

Udall, Heinrich Announce More Than $1 Million in Funding to Promote Agriculture Marketing in New Mexico

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced $538,279 in funding to New Mexico organizations to help farmers and ranchers develop new market opportunities for their products. The grants, provided through U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farmers Marketing and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP), will support a wide array of local projects designed to bolster economic opportunities for family farmers, support rural communities and increase access to fresh, healthy food. Udall and Heinrich also announced that New Mexico State University will receive $499,191 under the Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) to improve competitiveness of organic livestock and crop producers.

Seven New Mexico organizations will receive up to $100,000 each in FMLFPP grants to support various initiatives to increase awareness and availability of locally-sourced agricultural products. For example, Delicious New Mexico (Rio Grande Community Development Corporation) will receive $100,000 to provide outreach, marketing, training and technical assistance to improve and expand the Española Food Hub into an incubation hub for Northern New Mexico food businesses. The Pueblo of Pojoaque will receive $44,616 for promotional activities, expanded services and season and vendor recruitment to grow the Pojoaque Farmers Market.

"Farmers markets and food hubs benefit New Mexican communities by expanding opportunities for local farmers and ranchers while providing residents with the option to purchase locally-grown, healthy food," Udall said. "This funding will help ensure that family farmers can continue to strengthen their marketing efforts to provide all residents with access to nutritious food, as well as to expand into the growing organic marketplace. Every dollar spent at a farmers market or food hub is multiplied several times over in the local community, and this means local dollars supporting local foods and growing local economies."

"Connecting our communities to their local farmers and produce markets increases options for families to purchase healthy, locally-grown food, and it helps boost the economy at the same time," Heinrich said. "Through investments in marketing outreach and training, small family farmers and ranchers -- especially in our rural and tribal communities -- will have the tools necessary to attract more business while providing fresh food options to New Mexicans. I will continue to support these important investment programs that help our local agriculture industry to succeed."

The 2014 Farm Bill, which Udall and Heinrich both strongly supported, created the OREI grant program to help producers and processors grow and market high-quality organic agricultural products. The Farm Bill also tripled funding for marketing and promotion support for local food enterprises by creating the FMLFPP, which makes funding available annually to farmers markets, other direct producer-to-consumer venues, and other businesses in the local food supply chain. The local food portion of the FMFPP provides marketing and promotion grants for local food enterprises including food hubs, local food processors, and aggregation services. The farmers marketing portion of the program provides marketing and promotion grants for farmers markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs and other direct producer-to-consumer outlets for local food.

The 2014 FMLFPP funding is as follows:

- Delicious New Mexico (Albuquerque) will receive $100,000 provide outreach, marketing, training and technical assistance to improve and expand the Española Food Hub into an incubation hub for Northern New Mexico food businesses.
- Santa Fe Community Foundation will receive $100,000 to expand a local, healthy food procurement program to low-income and low-access communities that will improve the capacity of Pueblo agricultural producers through farm-to-market training.
- The National Center for Frontier Communities will receive $25,000 to the National Center for Frontier Communities to assess the feasibility of a regional food hub in Silver City to support a more self-sufficient local food economy in southwestern New Mexico.
- The Santa Fe Farmers' Market Institute will receive $91,604 to establish an advertising campaign to promote the market and Federal benefits redemption at the South Side Summer Market, and provide technical assistance and professional training to vendors.
- The Pueblo of Pojoaque will receive $44,616 for promotional activities, expanded services and season and vendor recruitment to grow the Pojoaque Farmers Market.
- The Pinyon Foundation (Santa Fe) will receive $100,000 to produce and implement Spanish language multimedia campaigns promoting farmers' markets nationwide.
- The New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association will receive $77,059 to promote SNAP redemption at farmers markets in four counties and train vendors to use EBT.