Specialty Crop Block Grant


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.


The Agriculture Act of 2014 (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 will award the state an allocation of approximately $800,000 for FY15.

Proposals must be received electronically by CDA by the close of business (5:00 pm) on May 1, 2015 in order to be eligible for consideration. All proposals must be emailed to Glenda.Mostek@state.co.us

Projects must solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, including but not limited to the following issues affecting the specialty crop industry:

• Enhancing food safety;

• Assisting all entities in the specialty crop distribution chain 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 research to focus on conservation and environmental outcomes;

• Developing new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops;

• Pest and disease control; and development of organic and sustainable production practices;

• Increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops;

• Improving efficiency and reducing costs of distribution systems;

• Developing local and regional food systems; and

• Improving food access in underserved communities.


To be eligible for consideration, completed proposals must be received electronically by CDA not later than the close of business (5:00 pm) on May 1, 2015.  Application


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. A matching contribution of cash and/or in-kind resources equal to at least 25 percent of the total project budget is required.


Fund Allocation & Timeline

Application Process

Grantee Provisions




Program Guidelines 

Allowable and Unallowable Costs

Sample Applications

Additional Resources

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


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Page updated 3/3/15