A free workshop Monday will allow anyone who is interested in starting a new farmers market, getting one more established or marketing agricultural events to gain insight in writing effective grant proposals.

The Missoula County Extension Office will hold the training from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the conference room at 2825 Santa Fe Court. The workshop will focus on improving the funding success rate of applicants to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service grant programs, specifically the Farmers Market Promotion Program and the Local Food Promotion Program.

The Farmers Market Promotion Program and the Local Food Promotion Program are competitive grant programs aimed at increasing domestic consumption of – and access to – locally and regionally produced agricultural products and to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local markets. The grant proposals must include ways to develop, improve or expand farmers markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agricultural tourism activities and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities.

The maximum amount awarded for any one proposal cannot exceed $100,000 and the minimum award is $15,000. The USDA is offering a total of $96.8 million this year in grants administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service.

“People who are interested in applying can go to this workshop and the material and curriculum is developed by Agricultural Marketing Service,” explained Seth Swanson of the Missoula County Extension Office. “So these materials are provided by the same agency that approves the grants, so they are telling people what they want to hear and how to be more effective with grant proposals.”

Montana State University Extension is participating in the project as well.

The deadline for the FMPP application submission is midnight May 14.

For more information on the workshop, contact Swanson at 258-4205 or seth.swanson@montana.edu.

To register for the workshop, bit.ly/1dc0JJt.

As of Friday, 19 people were registered and 11 spots remained.

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