Thursday, February 4, 2010
The Big One! Specialty Crop Block Grant
After months of anticipation and planning the big day has finally arrived!!! That’s right. USDA has announced and opened the application period for the next round of the Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) Program. Each State Department of Agriculture is eligible to receive an allocation of the $55 million set aside under Section 10109 of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008. Allocations are determined by the amount of Specialty Crop Production that occurs in the state. Departments of Agriculture are the only applicants but they are strongly encouraged to involve industry groups, academia, and community-based organizations in the development of applications that “solely” enhance the Specialty Crop Industry.
The State of Indiana will have $397,831.21 available for projects enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops through 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; assisting all entities in the specialty crop distribution chain in developing “Good Agricultural Practices:, “Good Handling Practices”, “Good Manufacturing Practices”, 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. Other options are market promotion; for domestic or international promotion of qualified Indiana food and agricultural products, or distribution to mitigate trade barriers that prevent or slow entry of qualified Indiana food and agricultural products into foreign markets.
ISDA would like to encourage all Specialty Crop organizations and partners to consider applying for funding this year. The applications are due June 25th, 2010 and are considered relatively easy to fill out. Check out ISDA’s website for the SCBG program guidance, application and score sheet. http://www.in.gov/isda/2522.htm