WASHINGTON, May 24, 2011 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture invites individuals to share their expertise in reviewing project proposals for the fiscal year 2011 Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) grant cycle.

Administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, FMPP is a competitive grant program designed to expand direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities in the U.S. through the development and promotion of farmers markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agritourism, and other direct-marketing channels.

 “A peer review is a time-tested method that allows open, public input by experts in a given field or discipline,” said Rayne Pegg, Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service. “In this case, peer reviewers are vital in ensuring that the grantees will promote the domestic consumption of agricultural commodities.”

 Reviewers will include peers from agricultural cooperatives, producer networks, producer associations, non-profit corporations, public benefit corporations, economic development corporations, regional farmers market authorities, and employees of federal, state, local and tribal governments. Expertise is particularly sought from farmers who are direct marketers, and reviewers with substantive experience in implementing electronic benefits transfer (EBT) projects.

 Prospective peer reviewers are expected to have a general knowledge of the operational aspects of locally based farm marketing programs, EBT projects, farmers markets, and other agricultural direct-marketing businesses. Reviewers will apply their knowledge and expertise to score and comment on applications submitted for the fiscal 2011 FMPP grant cycle.

 Selected reviewers must commit approximately six weeks for the FMPP review process. Reviewer commitment also includes the individual review of 20 to 30 proposals and an online group review and discussion about proposals. Due to budget constraints, reviewers will not be requested to travel to Washington, D.C.

 Individuals and/or their organizations (including subcontractors) that prepare or submit applications to FMPP for the fiscal 2011 grant funding cycle are not eligible to serve as reviewers. In addition, prospective reviewers will not be selected to review certain proposals if they or their organizations (including subcontractors) have a conflict of interest as detailed in the invitation. To review the invitation, go to http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5090957&acct=fmpp.

To apply, email Ricardo Krajewski at Ricardo.Krajewski@ams.usda.gov or call the FMPP office at (202) 720-8317. FMPP management will contact those individuals selected as reviewers.