Tuesday, May 6, 2014



GAINESVILLE, FL, May 5, 2014—Tropical storms in Florida do a lot of damage in a very short time.  In June, 2012, Tropical Storm Debby dumped almost 30 inches of rain, flooding Florida’s panhandle and spawning tornados. 

In the small coastal community of Shell Point in Wakulla County the storm washed out a roadway, downed trees and exposed utilities. Canal water was washing soil out from under 2,200-feet of Walker Creek Drive, which is the only access to about 30 homes. 

The Wakulla Board of County Commissioners contacted the Natural Resources Conservation Service for financial assistance through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program to repair the damages.  NRCS provided 75 percent of the estimated $500,000 to stabilize approximately 2,200 feet of canal bank using sheet pilings, turf reinforcement mat and sod.  And just last week, workers swept up the road and picked up the last of the trash left by construction, finishing the job.

The Emergency Watershed Protection Program addresses imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods, fires, wind­storms and other natural occurrences.  Public and private landowners are eligible for assistance, but must be represented by a project sponsor, such as a city, county, conservation district or any Native American tribe or tribal organization.

Brent Pell, the county’s assistant project manager said they couldn’t have afforded to fund a permanent repair without the assistance.  “This is a huge benefit to the community and the taxpayers of Wakulla County,” he said. 
Visit a local NRCS office or check the website for more information about the Emergency Management Protection program. 

In Santa Rosa County contact Trent Mathews,  850-623-3229 x109; Escambia County,  Josh McElhaney, 850-587-5404 x105; Okaloosa County, Darryl Williams, 850-682-3714 x109; Walton County,  Jason Hayford, 850-892-3712 x107; Calhoun County Brian McGraw, 850-674-8271 x104; Holmes County,  Greg Nolan, 850-547-2916 x116; Jackson County, Mary Jane Nelson, 850-526-2610 x127; Gadsden County, Karyn Ruiz-Toro, 850-625-6355 x106; Jefferson County, Stephen Tuller, 850-997-4058 x105.


WASHINGTON, May 1, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced the availability of approximately $1 million in matching grant funds through the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP). AMS is requesting grant proposals from state departments of agriculture, state colleges and universities, and other appropriate state agencies. Funds will support research projects to address challenges and opportunities in marketing, transporting, and distributing U.S. agricultural products domestically and internationally. Federal funds awarded must be matched dollar-for-dollar by non-federal funds and/or in-kind resources.

“These grants provide our state partners with matching funds to explore new and innovative approaches to marketing U.S. agricultural products,” said AMS Administrator, Anne Alonzo. “We’re really looking for proposals that demonstrate collaboration among state agencies, universities, producers and other stakeholders. We have seen some creative work in expanding and exploring new markets as a result of these kinds of partnerships.”
Proposals that address issues of importance at the state, multi-state, or national level are encouraged, including projects that:

• Assess challenges and develop ways to assist local and regional producers in marketing agricultural products that meet the mandates of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
• Have the potential to create economic opportunity in rural communities through research relating to marketing in local and regional food systems, and value-added agriculture.
• Contribute to the strategy of a designated Promise Zone.
• Demonstrate sound methods for processing, packing, handling, transporting, storing, distributing, and marketing agricultural products.
• Determine the costs of marketing agricultural products in their various forms and through various channels.
• Assist in the development of marketing methods, practices and facilities to bring about more efficient and orderly marketing, and reduce the price spread between the producer and the consumer.
• Develop and improve standards of quality, condition, quantity, grade and packaging in order to encourage uniformity and consistency in commercial practices.
• Eliminate artificial barriers to the free movement of agricultural products in commercial channels.
• Foster new or expanded markets and new uses of agricultural products.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

Applicants must submit proposals through the federal website www.grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern
time on June 16, 2014. The request for applications, which describes details about the grant opportunity, including eligibility, application requirements and an outline of the review process, is available at www.ams.usda.gov/FSMIP, and is linked with the FSMIP opportunity posted on www.grants.gov.

A one-hour teleconference is scheduled for Tuesday, May 13, 2014, at 2 p.m. Eastern time to discuss the 2014 program and give potential applicants the opportunity to ask questions about the request for
applications. If you are interested in participating, please send a message to
janise.zygmont@ams.usda.gov before the teleconference date to receive instructions.

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