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Ag Department Calls for Grant Proposals to Strengthen Market for PA Vegetable, Fruit, Nut, Nursery Specialty Crops


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. The deadline to apply is January 24, 2020.

“Pennsylvania produces some of the finest specialty crops in the world,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “Projects funded by these grants support and enhance the work of our growers by making their products safer, more nutritious and in even greater demand, and by bringing new leaders into the field to ensure that Pennsylvania remains competitive.”

Concept proposals are the first step in a two-part competitive process for the federal Specialty Crop Block Grants authorized under the federal Farm Bill. Commodities that meet the definition of specialty crops include horticultural products including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, culinary herbs and spices, medicinal plants, and nursery crops.

Fourteen Pennsylvania projects were funded in 2019 totaling more than $1.1 million dollars. Projects included those that will grow the state’s agriculture industry by improving food safety, increasing product marketing, battling threats to tree fruit crops, helping producers expand their markets, increasing the nutrient content of vegetable crops, training military veterans in in hydroponic and aquaponic methods, and cultivating youth leaders through agriculture.

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, 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 demonstrating how they benefit 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 p.m. on January 24, 2020. Successful applicants will be asked to submit a full proposal based on the concept paper by February 21, 2020. Applications can be submitted to the PA Department of Community and Economic Development’s Electronic Single Application for Assistance at

For more information about specialty crop grant programs, contact Morgan Sheffield at 717-787-3568 or, or visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Powers - 717.783.2628

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