The Indiana State Department of Agriculture is currently accepting proposals for the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. These funds are allocated to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, which are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops.
“Indiana is home to such a diverse agriculture industry and this diversity adds so much to our economy and society,” said Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. “I encourage specialty crop growers and organizations to take full advantage of this funding opportunity.”
The Specialty Crop Block Grant program offers federal funding to the state departments of agriculture to support the specialty crop industry. The allocation amount for Indiana is unknown at this time.
Applicants can include producer groups, trade associations, nonprofits, colleges and universities. Grants should focus on improving marketing, trainings, food safety, pest control and plant health. Organizations interested in this funding opportunity must apply through the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.
Funding will not be awarded to projects that benefit a particular commercial product, or provide a profit to a single organization, institution or individual. Each project must identify at least one expected measurable outcome that specifically demonstrates the project’s impact on enhancing the competitiveness of eligible specialty crops. And, must be in one of the following funding priorities:
- Funding Area I: Market Enhancement
- Funding Area II: Access, Education, and Training
- Funding Area III: Research
“This funding will go a long way in shoring up Indiana’s specialty crops in incomplete areas, like research and marketing,” said Bruce Kettler, Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director. “I encourage organizations to look at the key issues they are facing and see if this funding opportunity is something they would like to pursue to improve this diverse sector.”
Applications are due by March 22, 2020, and proposals must be submitted online through the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s Grants Management System.