Please immediately call your Member of the US House of Representatives to urge him or her to “support the Kaptur Farmers Market Amendment” this Tuesday or Wednesday to provide $6 million in funding for the new Farmers’ Market Promotion Program (FMPP). (Note that the FMPP is not to be confused with the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, which offers vouchers for low-income consumers to buy fresh produce at farmers’ markets.)
What does the amendment do? Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) will offer a floor amendment when the House of Representatives considers agricultural funding on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. Her amendment will provide $6 million in funding in Fiscal Year 2005 (FY05) for the new Farmers’ Market Promotion Program (FMPP). Though authorized in the 2002 Farm Bill, the FMPP has never been funded.
Where does the money come from? The Kaptur amendment pays for the FMPP startup with an equivalent reduction in funding for new USDA computers.
The message is simple: You are a constituent of Representative ____ and urge him/her to support the Kaptur amendment to provide$6 million in startup funding for the Farmers’ Market Promotion Program (FMPP).
Background: The 2002 Farm Bill authorized a new Farmers’ Market Promotion Program (FMPP) to bring assistance to thousands of family farmers and ranchers who direct market quality, locally grown fresh food directly to consumers. Administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, the FMPP is authorized to provide grants to agricultural cooperatives, local governments, non-profits, economic development corporations and other eligible entities working to establish, expand and promote local farmers’ markets, community supported agriculture (CSA) farms, farmstands, and all other forms of direct marketing. But the FMPP can do no good unless it is funded.
It’s easy to call. Simply call the congressional switchboard at (202) 225-3121 and ask for your representative’s office. Once you are connected, ask for the aide handling the agricultural funding bill and give them the message. If the aide is unavailable, just leave your name, phone number and the simple message to support the Kaptur amendment on Tuesday, providing funding for the Farmers’ Market Promotion Program with the receptionist answering the phone or on the aide’s voice mail box.
Thank you for calling your representative RIGHT NOW!
- Demand for farmers’ markets has grown tremendously in recent years, with the number of markets growing 63% from 1994 to 2000. Currently, some 60,000 farmers sell at about 3500 farmers’ markets nationally with over 3 million consumers benefiting weekly at peak summer and fall weeks. Local community demand to expand such markets is strong.
- Farmers and ranchers get a better price when they sell products directly to consumers.
- Direct marketing initiatives are a popular, efficient, economic boost to communities. But they require financial and other resources to get started and grow. The FMPP will help farmers and ranchers create such markets.but only if it’s funded.
- The FMPP will fund a broad range of direct marketing efforts, not just farmers’ markets. It will also assist community supported agriculture farms (CSAs), institutional buying projects, roadside stands, pick-your-own operations, and other direct marketing approaches.
- In tight budget times like these, the FMPP will help build local agricultural and rural economies crucial to the nation’s recovery. They make compelling economic sense as a modest national investment.
- As a competitive grants program, the FMPP will provide assistance to innovative projects and creative partnerships, and will help leverage additional local and private dollars.
Ask your representative to champion this small $6 million appropriation so the FMPP can begin fostering direct markets between farmers and consumers.
THANK YOU FOR TAKING IMMEDIATE ACTION!