CFDA: Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

California Department of Food & Agriculture

Grant amount: US $50,000 - US $450,000

Next anticipated deadline: Oct 25, 2018 5:00pm PDT (Pre proposal)

Later anticipated deadlines: Feb 5, 2019 5:00pm PST (Full proposal)

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit College / University Indigenous Group

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Research, Applied Project / Program

Location of project: California

Location of residency: California

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The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) conducts an annual competitive solicitation process to award Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) funds to projects that solely enhance the competitiveness of California specialty crops. Specialty crops are fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops (including floriculture). 

Funding Areas and Categories

CDFA has developed three funding areas, with two to three categories within each area. In practice, concept proposals might seem to address elements from multiple funding areas and funding categories. However, applicants must select one funding category to identify the primary focus of their concept proposal. Identifying a funding category ensures that concept proposals are evaluated by reviewers with the appropriate area of expertise. The selected funding category cannot be changed once the concept proposal is submitted. A

Concept proposals should:

  • Demonstrate a high likelihood of success.
  • Describe the specialty crop grower benefit and grower connection to the project.
  • Be scalable to the larger community.
  • Demonstrate industry need and support.
  • Illustrate a sustainable funding source beyond the life of the proposed grant.
  • Include an outreach component addressing how project results, research findings, and conclusions will be extended to specialty crop growers.

See the full RFP for complete details of each funding area and category below.

Funding Area I: Market Enhancement

Projects in this funding area will focus on increasing sales of California specialty crops through promotion of the California Grown identity, developing new markets, increasing opportunities in existing markets, improving availability, and increasing demand.

  • Market Enhancement Category A: California Grown Promotion
  • Market Enhancement Category B: Market Expansion and Access

Funding Area II: Training and Education

Projects in this funding area will focus on improving the competitiveness of California specialty crops through training for producers and growers to equip them for current and future challenges in specialty crop agriculture, and nutritional education for consumers to promote increased consumption. 

  • Training and Education Category A: Specialty Crop Nutrition Education
  • Training and Education Category B: Equipping Current and Next Generation Specialty Crop Farmers 

Funding Area III: Research

Projects in this funding area will focus on improving the competitiveness of California specialty crops through projects that invest in specialty crop research, including research to focus on conservation and  environmental outcomes, pest control and disease, and organic and sustainable production practices. While research may be the primary objective of projects in this funding area, all SCBGP projects are required to include an outreach component.

  • Research Category A: Environmental Stewardship and Conservation
  • Research Category B: Plant Health and Pest Management

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


  • Non-profit and for-profit organizations; local, state, and federal government entities, including tribal governments; and public or private colleges and universities are eligible to apply.
  • There is no limit on the number of concept proposals applicants may submit; however, each concept proposal should be for a wholly unique project.
  • Projects must solely enhance the competitiveness of California specialty crops.
  • Projects must address at least one of the program priorities identified by CDFA.


  • Individuals are not eligible to apply.
  • Grant funds will not be awarded for projects that directly benefit or provide a profit to a single organization, institution, or individual. For example, the program will not fund a project to start or expand a farm or business venture.
  • Recipients cannot use grant funds to compete unfairly with private companies that offer equivalent products or services.
  • Projects benefiting non-specialty crops will not be selected for funding.
  • Applicants should not submit multiple concept proposals for a single project or submit the same project over multiple funding categories.