USDA Increases Specialty Block Grant Funds for Montana $986,229 Now Available for Producers
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that Montana will receive more than $986,000 from the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBG). Montana’s increase in funding is largely due to the additional acres of dry peas and lentils planted. The previous award amount was $305,000. The application deadline remains 5 p.m. on May 21, 2014.
Specialty crops are fruits and vegetables, culinary and medicinal herbs, 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 department’s website.
“These additional resources are good news for farmers who have been increasing dry pea and lentil acres the last few years. They and other producers with eligible projects related to specialty crops can apply for this additional funding,” said Department of Agriculture Director Ron de Yong.
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.
Interested state and/or local organizations, academia, producer associations, community based organizations, specialty crop stakeholders, and local, state, and federal government entities are eligible to apply. 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.
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) 444-5424.
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.