Specialty Crop Block Grant
Since 2004, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made available grants to state departments of agriculture solely to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. The current funding for the program was established in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill,) which authorized the USDA to provide grants to states for each of the fiscal years 2008 through 2012 to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.
Each state that submits an application that is reviewed and approved by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is to receive at least an amount that is equal to the higher of $100,000, or 1/3 of 1 percent of the total amount of funding made available for that fiscal year. In addition, AMS will allocate the remainder of the grant funds based on the value of specialty crop production in each state in relation to the national value of specialty crop production using the latest available cash receipt data.
Kansas received $102,000 for fiscal year 2007 and 2008, and received $104,504.80, for fiscal year 2009. Because a provision in the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 appropriated an additional $10 million for the grant program, Kansas received an additional $106,240, to help fund specialty crop programs in fiscal year 2009. For fiscal year 2010, Kansas received $214,055.68. In state fiscal year 2011, Kansas received $282,828; and in state fiscal year 2012, Kansas received $273,616.54.
Later 2012, or state fiscal year 2013, Kansas expects to receive $258,363.
Applications for grant funds should show 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. 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. Single organizations, institutions, and individuals are encouraged to participate as project partners.
Applicants must be a legal entity and have the legal capacity to contract. Applicants also are strongly encouraged to provide a cash match for their projects.
Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and nursery crops, including floriculture. Some examples of enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops are research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, food safety and security, plant health, education, "buy local" programs, addressing environmental concerns and developing cooperatives. For more information about the specialty crop block grant program, including a current list of eligible crops, visit USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service.
Additional Resources for Specialty Crop Block Grants
Alternative Funding Opportunity
If you have a project that doesn't meet the criteria for funding under the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, you may still be eligible for financial help through the Agriculture Value-Added Loan Program offered by the Kansas Department of Agriculture.