The Roundup -

Specialty Crop Funding Available, MT Dept. of Ag is Accepting Grant Applications

 


The Montana Department of Agriculture announced that funding is available and applications will be accepted to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. After receiving funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the state will disburse $305,000 to successful applicants through a competitive grant process. 

Specialty crops are fruits and vegetables, culinary and medicinal herbs, dried fruits, horticultural, and nursery crops, including floriculture. Eligible plants must be intensively cultivated and used by people for food, medicinal purposes and/or aesthetic gratification. A list of specialty crops is available, along with a companion list of ineligible commodities, on the USDA website.

Proposed projects must enhance the competitiveness of U.S. grown specialty crops in either domestic or foreign markets. Projects must benefit more than one commercial product, organization, or individual. Examples include research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, plant health, education, “buy local” programs, conservation, or product development. 

Other areas of particular interest to the department include nutritional improvements, especially for children, improving efficiency and reducing costs of distribution systems, development of good agricultural practices, pest and disease control, and development of organic and sustainable production practices. See a complete description of eligible and previously-funded projects at agr.mt.gov/agr/Producer/GrantsLoans/SCBG/Eligibility.html.

Funding is available to interested state and/or local organizations, academia, producer associations, community based organizations, specialty crop stakeholders, and local, state, and federal government entities. 

Grant proposals are due to the Montana Department of Agriculture by close of business on May 21, 2014. For more information, eligibility guidelines, and resources, visit agr.mt.gov/agr/Producer/GrantsLoans/SCBG or contact Angelyn DeYoung, Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Manager, at (406) 444-2402.

Projects will be evaluated by the department and a technical review committee. Approved proposals will be forwarded to the USDA. Successful applicants will be notified in October 2014.

The Montana Department of Agriculture’s mission is to protect producers and consumers, and to enhance and develop agriculture and allied industries. For more information on the Montana Department of Agriculture, visit http://www.agr.mt.gov.

 

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