Specialty crop growers eligible for federal funding

The Indiana State Department of Agriculture is seeking project proposals from Indiana’s specialty crop industry to present for funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

The proposals must enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in Indiana, defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops.

“Indiana is a thriving home to many agricultural endeavors, which includes producing a variety of outstanding specialty crops,” Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch said. “This funding opportunity will allow our specialty crop industry the ability to advance through research, market development and education and training.”

The program offers federal funding annually to the state departments of agriculture to support their specialty crop industries. The allocation amount for Indiana is unknown at this time.

Applicants can include nonprofit and for-profit organizations, governments and public or private colleges and universities. ISDA encourages applicants to develop projects focused on issues such as enhancing food safety, pest and disease control, developing organic and sustainable production practices and developing local and regional food systems.

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.

ISDA’s funding priority will focus on three main areas:

  • Funding Area I: Market Enhancement
  • Funding Area II: Access, Education and Training
  • Funding Area III: Research

Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. March 25, and proposals must be submitted online through the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s Grants Management System.

For information, visit in.gov/isda/grants-and-funding-opportunities. For a list of eligible specialty crops, visit www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/scbgp/specialty-crop.