AL Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP)

Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries

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Grant amount: US $5,000 - US $25,000

Anticipated deadline: Apr 18, 2020 3:00pm PDT

Applicant type: Organizations

Funding uses: Research, Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Alabama

Location of residency: Alabama

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The Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries (ADAI) receives grant funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to enhance the competitiveness of Alabama's specialty crops. ADAI accepts competitive applications for specialty crop grant funds annually.

Program Purpose

The purpose of the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) is to solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Specialty crops are defined as “fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).”

Crops That Are Eligible

  • ​​Fruits 
  • Vegetables
  • Tree nuts
  • Dried fruits
  • Christmas trees
  • Turf type grasses
  • Nursery crops (including floriculture and horticulture)

A complete list of eligible and ineligible crops under the grant program can be found here.

Project Specifications

Projects must solely enhance the competitiveness of US specialty crops in domestic and foreign markets; specifically, in regards to the following issues specified by USDA. 

  • Increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of Specialty Crops; 
  • Participation of industry representatives at meetings of international standard setting bodies in which the U.S. government participates; 
  • Improving efficiency and reducing costs of distribution systems;
  • Developing “Good Agricultural Practices”, “Good Handling Practices”, Good Manufacturing Practices”, and in cost-share arrangements for funding audits of such systems for small farmers, packers, and processors; 
  • Investing in specialty crop research, including organic research to focus in conservation and environmental outcomes; 
  • Enhancing food safety;
  • Developing new and improved seed varieties for specialty crops;
  • Pest and disease control;
  • Community Gardens; or
  • Sustainability.

Examples of acceptable projects; based upon information from the USDA:

  • A State requests funding to contract with a university to conduct research on the feasibility of planting, cultivating, and growing a specialty crop in a particular area, the results of which can be shared with many growers throughout the State. 
  • A single grower requests funds to demonstrate the viability of organic small fruit production and partners with Cooperative Extension to publicize the working model of diversification to other regional growers. 
  • A single company requests funds to provide a viable pollination alternative to specialty crop stakeholders in the region, which currently does not have one. 
  • A single specialty crop organization requests funds to conduct an advertising campaign that will benefit their specialty crop members. 
  • A single farmer erects high tunnels on their property to extend the growing season of tomatoes and lettuce and conducts a field day and farm tour to encourage other small family farmers to adopt the production methods. 

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Commodity groups, Ag organizations, colleges and universities, municipalities, state agencies, Native American Tribal Organizations and agricultural nonprofits and profits are all eligible for this grant program, provided their proposals meet all the specifications in this Request for Applications and the USDA’s Notice of Federal Assistance.
  • All projects MUST show how they enhance the competitiveness of Alabama Grown Specialty Crops and not solely benefit the sole applicant.
  • Please note that projects must impact and produce 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. 
  • Projects must benefit more than one commercial product or individual.


  • Exclusions​:
    • Grant funds will not be awarded for projects that directly benefit or provide profit only to a single organization, institution, or individual.
    • Funds may not be used to purchase fixed assets or personal property.
    • Expenditures incurred prior to grant award may not be included in the grant request or eligible for reimbursement.
    • Administration or indirect costs (defined as expenses incurred in controlling or directing an organization, but not directly identifiable with financing, marketing, or production operations) cannot be paid for with these grant funds.​
    • Capital expenditures for general purpose equipment, buildings, and land are unallowable.
  • Examples of unacceptable project; based upon information from the USDA:
    • A company applied for funds to purchase starter plants or equipment used to plant, cultivate, and grow a specialty crop for the purpose of making a profit, or to expand production of a single business. 
    • A proposal for funds from a specialty crop organization to promote their members’ businesses.