Florida Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

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Grant amount: Up to US $200,000

Anticipated deadline: Jan 17, 2021 2:00pm PST

Applicant type: Organizations Individuals

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

Location of project: Florida

Location of residency: Florida

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Overview:

Description of Funding Opportunity

The purpose of the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is to award funds to projects which enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Specialty Crops are broadly defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and horticulture products, including floriculture.

Lists of eligible and ineligible crops may be found on the USDA-AMS website.

Project Types

The goal of the SCBGP is to promote and increase opportunities for specialty crop producers.

Major considerations

  • Does the project provide an overall economic benefit to Florida’s specialty crop industry?
  • Does the project make good business sense?
  • Does the project have a high likelihood of success?
  • Are the expected benefits of the project in line with the proposed budget?

State Funding Priorities

FDACS has established funding priorities for the SCBGP for the State of Florida, including:

  • Projects to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus inputs required for specialty crop production, or to prevent or reduce leaching / runoff of these nutrients into groundwater or surface waterways.
  • Projects to reduce water use, improve irrigation efficiency, or otherwise decrease the impact of agricultural water use in specialty crop production.
  • Projects to research, encourage, or educate producers and consumers on advanced specialty crop production technologies such as hydroponics, aquaponics, aeroponics, protected culture or controlled environment production, and others.

Federal Funding Priorities

USDA-AMS encourages states to develop projects which benefit the specialty crop industry in one or more of the following ways:

  • Enhance food safety
  • Improve the capacity of all entities in the specialty crop distribution chain to comply with the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (21 U.S.C. Chapter 27), for example, developing “Good Agricultural Practices,” “Good Handling Practices,” “Good Manufacturing Practices,” and in cost share arrangements for funding audits of such systems (including USDA GroupGAP) for small farmers, packers, and processors
  • Invest in specialty crop research, including research to focus on conservation and environmental outcomes
  • Develop new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops
  • Enhance pest and plant disease control
  • Increase child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops
  • Improve efficiency and reduce costs of distribution systems
  • Enhance sustainability

Examples of Acceptable Projects:

  • A non-profit organization requests funds to conduct an advertising campaign that will benefit their specialty crop members.
  • 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 specific area, the results of which will be shared with many growers throughout the state during the project.
  • A single grower requests funds to demonstrate the viability of organic small fruit production and partners with an Extension program 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 a region that currently does not have one.
  • A single farmer erects high tunnels on her 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.

Eligibility:

  • Proposals will be accepted from non-profit organizations, producer organizations, government agencies, universities, and other organizations related to Florida's specialty crop industry. Individuals, individual producers, for-profit businesses, or commercial entities may submit proposals. However, the project must focus on research, education, or demonstration and must benefit the specialty crop industry in a manner that can be replicated by other organizations.
  • Additional notes to help you determine whether your project is eligible:
    • Projects must enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Consider carefully whether your project is likely to have “spillover” benefits for non-specialty crops and whether the SCBGP is the best fit for your project.
    • Projects must benefit more than one product or organization. The SCBGP will not award grant funds for projects that solely benefit a single commercial product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution, or individual. This means that the program will not provide funds to start or expand a farm or other business venture.
    • In addition, recipients cannot use grant funds to compete unfairly with private companies that offer equivalent products or services.

Ineligibility:

  • Examples of Unacceptable Projects:
    • A company requests grant 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 or organization.
    • A state requests grant funds to make grants to individual specialty crop businesses or roadside stands to promote their individual businesses.
    • A non-profit organization uses grant funds to purchase produce and then sells that produce to other entities at cost or a higher price than the purchase price while competing with other private companies who sell produce in the area.
    • A sole proprietor requests grant funds to redesign his logo in order to make his specialty crop value-added product stand out at the local farmers’ market.
    • A single specialty crop organization requests grant funds to market its organization so that it can increase its membership.