WASHINGTON — The U. S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is making more than $60 million in grants available to support farmers growing fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops, also known as specialty crops. The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) grants are allocated to U.S. states and territories for projects that help support projects including research, agricultural extension activities, and programs to address the needs of America’s specialty crop industry.
Interested parties should apply directly through their state departments of agriculture, which manage the competitive grant process. A listing of the SCBGP’s state contacts, and how to apply with state application due dates, can be found on the AMS Specialty Crop Block Grant Programweb page. State departments of agriculture must submit their applications to AMS by June 7, 2017.
The SCBGP funding, administered by AMS, is allocated based on a formula that considers both specialty crop acreage and production value in each State and Territory. The grants are part of USDA’s continued effort to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops and provide resources to strengthen American agriculture.
USDA encourages states to submit specialty crops projects related to the following priority areas: research; food safety; sustainability; developing new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops; pest and disease control; child and adult nutrition; improving efficiency of distribution systems; and helping businesses to comply with the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
For more information about these grant programs, including program background, visit the AMS grants website: www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants. The website also contains a link “What AMS Grant is Right for Me?” under which applicants can use a grants decision tree to determine which AMS grant fits their project best.
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