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11/13/2018

Ag Department Now Accepting Federal Specialty Crop Block Grant Concept Proposals

Deadline to Apply is December 28

Harrisburg, PA - The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture today announced that it is now accepting concept proposals forprojects that increase the visibility and competitiveness of the state’s fruit and vegetable, nursery, horticultural, and nut products. The deadline to apply is through December 28, 2018.

“Pennsylvania agriculture is an industry filled with opportunity and promise, and these grants will help producers realize their vision for the future,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “Specialty crops play an important role in the industry, allowing producers to provide Pennsylvania consumers with the products they want. I welcome all who have ideas for growing this industry to submit them for funding consideration.”

The proposals, part of a two-phase competitive process for the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, are authorized under the Farm Bill. Commodities that meet the definition of specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticultural products, culinary herbs and spices, medicinal plants and nursery crops, including floricultural ones.

In 2018, 17 projects were approved in Pennsylvania totaling more than $1.1 million dollars. Projects addressed a range of priorities in the agriculture industry, including food safety, marketing, nutrition, succession planning and sustainability.

Applicants must submit a concept paper for projects that solely 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, and expected measurable outcomes; work plan; and budget.

Requests may be made for a minimum of $20,000, provided that the amount reasonably represents the cost of the intended project. Each project must have measurable outcomes for the specialty crop industry and/or the public rather than a single organization, institution or individual. Single organizations, institutions and individuals are encouraged to participate as project partners.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture administers the grant program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service. Concept Proposals will be reviewed by The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. Successful applicants will be asked to submit a full proposal based on the concept paper, due February 15, 2019. Concept papers must be received by 4 p.m. on Friday December 28th, 2018. Applicants can search “Specialty Crop Block Grant” and apply at www.esa.dced.state.pa.us.

For more information about the grant program, contact Morgan Sheffield at 717-787-3568 or msheffield@pa.gov, or visit www.agriculture.pa.gov.

MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Powers - 717.783.2628

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