Specialty Crop Block Grant Applications Being Accepted

Staff Report From South Carolina CEO

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

Applications for the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) are available at www.scspecialtycropblockgrant.com and are due by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 12, 2019.  Applications must be submitted by email to bdorton@scda.sc.gov.

“The SCBGP is an important resource for strengthening the specialty crop industry,” said South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers.  “I encourage specialty crop farmers, researchers and other industry supporters to propose projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, sustain the livelihood of farmers, and strengthen local economies.”

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is administered by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. The program is committed to strengthening the market for specialty crops. Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture (including honey), and nursery crops (including floriculture).

Applicants should propose projects that provide one or more of the following benefits:

Enhanced food safety

Improved capacity of all entities in the specialty crop distribution chain to comply with the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act, for example, 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

Investment in specialty crop research, including research to focus on conservation and environmental outcomes

Development of new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops

Enhanced pest and disease control

Increased child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops

Increased efficiency and reduced costs of distribution systems

Enhanced sustainability

Proposed projects:

must fall within the criteria as described in the application

can be up to three years in duration

must benefit groups of producers, not individuals.

must not use funds for capital expenditures such as buildings, equipment, or land.