Harrisburg, PA - The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is accepting concept proposals for projects that will increase visibility and competitiveness of the state’s horticultural specialty crops including fruit, vegetable, nursery, flower, and nut products. Concept proposals, due March 5, 2021, are for the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant program, which is administered by the state.
“Pennsylvania’s specialty crops are among the world’s finest,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “Projects funded by these grants enhance the work of our growers by increasing demand for their products, protecting them from threats, making them safer and even higher quality, and by helping this generation of farmers transition their operations or make them more profitable and sustainable for the future.”
Concept proposals are the first step in a two-part competitive process for the federal Specialty Crop Block Grants authorized under the 2018 federal Farm Bill. Commodities that meet the definition of specialty crops include horticultural products such as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, culinary herbs and spices, medicinal plants and nursery crops.
In 2020, the USDA funded 17 Pennsylvania projects totaling more than $1 million. Projects included those that will grow the state’s agriculture industry by improving food safety, battling threats to tree fruit crops and mushrooms, helping producers expand farm market and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) sales, increasing the nutrient content of vegetable crops, and developing new product varieties.
Applicants must submit a concept paper for projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops through market development, technology innovation, food safety, nutrition knowledge, sustainable practices and or pest management. Concept proposals should be approximately three pages in length and cover project purpose, estimated timeline, goals, objectives, expected measurable outcomes, work plan and budget.
Requests may be made for a minimum of $20,000, provided the amount reasonably represents the cost of the intended project. Each project must have measurable outcomes demonstrating how it benefits the specialty crop or consumers, rather than a single organization, institution or individual. Single organizations, institutions and individuals are encouraged to participate as project partners.
Concept Proposals will be reviewed by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, which administers the grant program. Grants are funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service. Concept papers must be received by 4:59 PM on March 5, 2021. Successful applicants will be asked to submit a full proposal based on the concept paper by March 19, 2021. Applications can be submitted to the PA Department of Community and Economic Development’s Electronic Single Application for Assistance at esa.dced.state.pa.us.
For more information about specialty crop grant programs, contact Morgan Sheffield at 717-787-3568 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit agriculture.pa.gov.
MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Powers - 717.603.2056, email@example.com
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