The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded 18 states $1.3 million in matching grants to support agricultural market research and demonstration projects. The department announced the 22 matching grants, part of the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP), saying it will explore new approaches to marketing U.S. food and agricultural products and improve system efficiency and performance.

The grants will help develop agricultural marketing strategies. Funding went to: eight local/regional food projects, two bio-energy projects, a farm-to-school project and a food safety project for direct marketers. The FSMIP funds a range of applied research projects addressing barriers, challenges, and opportunities in marketing, transporting, and distributing U.S. food and agricultural products domestically and internationally.