The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is making more than $62 million in grant funding available to support specialty crop producers through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP). SCBGP grants are allocated to U.S. states and territories for projects that help support specialty crop growers, including locally grown fruits and vegetables, through research and other programs to increase demand.
Those interested in applying should do so directly through their state departments of agriculture, which administer a competitive grant process. A listing of the SCBGP’s state contacts, and how to apply with state application due dates, can be found at www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/scbgp. State departments of agriculture must submit their applications to AMS by July 6, 2016.
USDA encourages states to submit projects related to the following priority areas: benefitting underserved communities and veterans, improving producer capacity to comply with the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act, developing adaptation and mitigation strategies for farmers in drought-stricken regions of the country, increasing opportunities for new and beginning farmers, developing strong local and regional food systems, protecting pollinator habitats and improving pollinator health, and supporting the growth of organic specialty crops.
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.