Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Grant Program To Grow Speciality Crops!

One state will be receiving a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture and they will be using this grant to provide a grant program of their own! They are extending an open invitation for proposals!

The USDA encourages projects that solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops pertaining to the following issues affecting the specialty crop industry:

  • Increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops

  • Improving efficiency and reducing costs of distribution systems

  • Investing in specialty crop research, including research to focus on conservation and environmental outcomes

  • Enhancing food safety

  • Developing new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops

  • Pest and disease control

  • Development of organic and sustainable production practices of specialty crops

  • Increasing the competitiveness of specialty crop farmers, including Native American and disadvantaged farmers. This may include developing local and regional food systems, and improving food access in underserved communities

Grant funds must be used for projects that solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops or that benefit a specialty crop industry as a whole.

Grant funds will not be awarded for projects that directly benefit a particular commercial product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution, or individual. Single organizations, institutions, and individuals are encourged to participate as project partners.

A very detailed manual of general program information, application instructions, scoring criteria for applications received and an application template has been prepared. It can be found on their website. While the website provides all of the information listed below, here is a highlight of some of the provisions:

  • Eligible crops that are classified as ‘specialty crops’ are listed in the manual. If there are any questions, please contact their office.

  • All applications will be received and reviewed by our department and only those selected will move forward for USDA approval.

  • Grant applications are capped at $100,000.

  • Multi-state projects are eligible.

Payments to recipients will be on a quarterly basis and will require an itemized invoice, a brief interim progress report, and documentation of the work or expenses for which payment is requested. University entities that are applying for grant funds must now have a letter(s) of support from the specialty crop industry representatives. Proposals may not exceed 6 pages in length.
Applicants will need to follow the instructions and format in the manual when submitting proposals.

If you have any questions concerning this grant, please feel free to contact the represenative either by phone or via email.

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