Florida Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services


Grant amount: Up to US $200,000

Next anticipated deadline: Nov 14, 2018 2:00pm PST (Pre proposal)

Later anticipated deadlines: Dec 20, 2018 2:00pm PST (Pre proposal)

Applicant type: Individuals Government Entity Nonprofit For-Profit Business College / University Indigenous Group

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

Location of project: Florida

Location of residency: Florida

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Overview:

Note: If your proposal addresses food safety for specialty crops, you must submit your pre-proposal to the Center for Produce Safety (CPS) by the November deadline above. All other proposals must be submitted to FDACS by the December deadline above. 

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services anticipates receiving 2018 Specialty Crop Block Grant Funds from the United State Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA-AMS). These funds, estimated to be $3.8 million, will be awarded to projects that enhance the competitiveness of Florida specialty crops. Please note that all awards made under this program are contingent upon the availability of funding from USDA-AMS. Please see USDA-AMS’s website for the official Notice of Funding Availability once it is posted.

Purpose

The purpose of the SCBGP is to provide funding for projects that solely enhance the competitiveness of Florida’s specialty crops. Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture). Lists of eligible and ineligible crops may be found on the USDA-AMS website.

FDACS Funding Priorities

The following have been identified as funding priorities for the 2018 Florida Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Projects which address one or more of these priorities may earn additional points during the review process.

  • Projects with immediate benefit to the public/industry
  • Projects that expand child and adult knowledge of nutritional benefits, improve access, and increase consumption for Florida specialty crops
  • Projects that increase sales and marketability and drive demand for commercially grown specialty crops
  • Projects to bolster local food systems, such as “buy local produce” programs for schools, prisons, hospitals, restaurants, businesses, and others as well as increased specialty crop sales for community supported agriculture organizations
  • Projects to help specialty crop growers reduce the financial cost and/or environmental impact of their operations, including improved pest and disease management techniques, efficient water management, integrated pest management, organic/sustainable production, native plant horticulture, protected agriculture and others

USDA-AMS Project Criteria

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?

The SCBGP supports initiatives that:

  • Enhance food safety
  • Improve efficiency within the distribution system and reduce costs
  • Assist all entities in the specialty crop distribution chain in developing “Good Agricultural Practices” and “Good Handling Practices” and in funding cost share arrangement for funding audits of such systems for small farmers, packers and processors
  • Investing in specialty crop research, include research to focus on conservation and environmental outcomes
  • Develop new/improved seed varieties and specialty crops
  • Control pests and diseases, including development of organic and sustainable production practices
  • Develop local and regional food systems
  • Improve food access in underserved communities

Types of Projects

  • Consumer or Producer Education
  • Food Safety
  • Marketing and Promotion
  • Pest and Plant Health
  • Production
  • Research

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

Eligibility:

  • Proposals will be accepted from:
    • nonprofit 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 adequately replicated by other organizations. 
  • Additional notes to help you determine whether your project is eligible:
    • Projects must solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.
    • Projects must benefit more than one product or organization.
  • See examples of acceptable projects here

Ineligibility:

  • Consider carefully whether your project is likely to have “spillover” benefits for non-specialty crops.
    • If so, the project is not likely to be funded.
  • The SCBGP will not award grant funds for projects that solely benefit a particular 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.
  • See "Examples of Unacceptable Projects" here.