Thursday, March 31, 2011

New Round of the Specialty Crop Block Grant

It is once again time for another round of USDA's Specialty Crop Block Grant. This grant is to to solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Specialty crops are defined as “fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).” Through this program each state is allocated funding to award to organizations and associations that focus on specialty crops.

In Indiana grants are available in the range of $2,000 - $50,000 for activities and practices affecting the specialty crop industry including:
• increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption
• improving efficiency and reducing costs of distribution systems
• helping entities establish good agricultural, handling and manufacturing practices
investing in research such as enhancing food safety, developing new and improved seed varieties &      specialty crops, pest and disease control and sustainability
• market promotion of qualified Indiana food & agricultural products

Applications must be submitted via email to ISDA by June 17, 2011. Commissions, public entities, associations, and/or nonprofit organizations that represent specialty crops as defined by USDA in Indiana agriculture are eligible to apply. A Guidance Document, Application and Scoresheet can be found on ISDA's website here.

Please note; a new change in the application process for this year is that all applicants must have a DUNS number. This is a federal requirement and can take a couple of weeks to obtain, so please plan accordingly.

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