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SPECIALTY CROPS GRANT PROGRAM

Program Background

Each state that submits an application is reviewed and approved by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is to receive at least an amount that is equal to the higher of $100,000, or 1/3 of 1 percent of the total amount of funding made available for the fiscal year.  In addition, AMS will allocate the remainder of the grant funds based on the value of specialty crop production in each state in relation to the national value of specialty crop production using the latest available cash receipt data.

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture procedures for grant selection are posted on the Specialty Crop link.  In accordance with USDA-AMS suggested method for proposal selection; a competitive process is embraced and overseen by an appointed Advisory Board.

Eligible Applicants and Projects

State and/or local organizations, producer associations, academia, community based organizations, and other specialty crops stakeholders are eligible to apply.  SCBGP-FB grant funds will be awarded for projects of up to 2 years duration.  Examples of projects aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops include, but are not limited to: Increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops; participation of industry representatives at meetings of international standard setting bodies in which the U.S. government participates; improving efficiency and reducing costs of distribution systems; assisting all entities in the specialty crop distribution chains in developing “Good Agricultural Practices”, “Good Handling Practices”, “Good Manufacturing Practices”, and in cost-share arrangements for funding audits of such systems for small farmers, packers and processors; investing in specialty crop research, including organic research to focus on conservation and environmental outcomes; enhancing food safety; developing new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops; pest and disease control; and sustainability.  SCBGP-FB funds shall be used for projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops and benefit the 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.  Projects must enhance specialty crop industry competitiveness.  Applications for grant funds should show how the project potentially impacts and produces measurable outcomes for the specialty crop industry and/or the public rather than a single organization, institution, or individual.

Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).  For a complete list of eligible crops Click Here.

2017 Program Timeline

PHASE I Request for Concept Papers:  Applicants will submit a short concept paper following the requirements outlined in the Request for Concept Papers.  Concept papers will be reviewed by the Specialty Crop Advisory Board and PDA.

PHASE II Request for Grant Proposals:  Request for Grant Proposals: Successful applicants will be asked to submit a full proposal based on the concept paper submitted in PHASE I.

PHASE III Announce Awards:  Announce Awards: Successful applicants will be notified of awards and required to sign and submit contracts.

PHASE IV Submit Reports:  Applicants are required to submit annual reports 30 days after the end of the first year of the date of the signed grant agreement and each subsequent year until the expiration date of the grant period.  Final reports are required 30 days following the end date of the grant or upon completion of the project.

Timeline - 2017 - Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
Phase I
January 2017
Release Notice of Funding Availability - Request for Concept Proposals
February 23, 2017, 4:00PM
Concept Proposals Due
Phase II
March 7, 2017
Send Invitations to Request Full Grant Proposals
April 3, 2017, 4:00PM
Full Grant Proposals Due
June 7, 2017
Grant Proposals to USDA for Approval
Phase III
October/November 2017
Announce and Award Grant Agreements
October/November 2017
Contracts Due
Phase IV
October 30, 2018
Annual Reports Due
October 30, 2019
Final Reports Due