Specialty Crop Block Grant

Definition 
 

Specialty crops are defined as 

  •  fruits and vegetables,

  • tree nuts, 

  •  dried fruits, and

  •  nursery crops (including floriculture and sod). 

Crops excluded from the program as defined by USDA's Agriculture Marketing Service include: cotton, cottonseed, feed crops (such as barley, corn, hay, oats, sorghum grain, and millet), flaxseed, food grains (such as quinoa, rice, rye, and wheat), livestock and dairy products (including eggs), marine aquaculture, oil crops (such as peanut, soybean, sunflower, safflower, rapeseed, canola, and mustard seed), peanuts, range grasses, sugar beets, sugarcane, and tobacco.  

To be eligible for a grant, the project must solely enhance the competitiveness of Colorado grown specialty crops in either domestic or foreign markets. See the SCBGP-FB website, for a list of eligible specialty crops and ineligible commodities.

Background 

The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill) authorized the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to partner with state departments of agriculture to enhance the competitiveness of growers of fruits, vegetables, and other horticultural crops in areas such as marketing, promotion, education, research, trade and nutrition. Colorado estimates USDA to award the state an allocation of approximately $700,000 for FY14. 

Proposals must be received by CDA by the close of business (4:30pm) on May 1, 2014 in order to be eligible for consideration. 

Funding from the SCBGP affords Colorado's specialty crops stakeholders an unprecedented opportunity to undertake new initiatives including, but not limited to:

  • mitigating food safety concerns;

  • advancing new crops, production systems, and landscaping practices;

  • investigating disease, pest, and phytosanitary issues;

  • strengthening industry organizations;

  • developing and expanding local, state-wide, regional, national, and international markets;

  • promoting fruits and vegetables as integral to a healthy and well-balanced diet;

  • conducting scientific, new product, nutrition, and/or market research; and

  • enhancing transportation and distribution systems.

Deadline 

To be eligible for consideration, completed proposals must be recieved by CDA not later than the close of business (4:30 pm) on May 1, 2014. To apply click on the "Application Process" link on the left. Application 

Eligibility 

Producer groups, organizations, and associations, as well as state and/or local organizations, academia and other specialty crops stakeholders are eligible to apply either as single entities or in combined efforts. Although proposals submitted by individual producers are allowed, grant funds will not be awarded for projects that solely benefit a particular commercial product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution, or individual. Applications for grant funds should describe 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.  

Funds may not be utilized for paying down current debt, general administrative expenses, salaries, or for indirect institutional overhead costs. Similarly, funds may not be utilized for purchasing equipment and construction/building costs.

page updated 3/24/14

 

 Additional Resources

USDA

USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service to individual state departments of agriculture.

Specialty Crop Final Performance Reports

Colorado Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Brochure

CSU Grower Research & Education Grants