MN Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA)

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Anticipated deadline: Mar 10, 2021 1:00pm PST

Grant amount: US $10,000 - US $100,000

Fields of work: Agricultural Crops Horticulture & Gardening

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

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

Location of project: Minnesota

Location of residency: Minnesota

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Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is seeking grant applications from Minnesota organizations to “increase the competitiveness of our specialty crops” in domestic and foreign markets. 

Specialty crops are defined by the USDA as: fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. A more comprehensive list of eligible (and ineligible) crops is available. 

Eligible Projects - Funding Priorities 

To be eligible, project(s) must solely enhance the competetiveness of a Minnesota specialty crop, as defined by the USDA. These are not business startup or farm expansion grants, and there are significant restrictions on the use of SCBG funds for equipment purchase. Projects must include an outreach plan to share results with a broad audience that could benefit rom the information.

USDA and the MDA encourage projects that benefit beginning farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers, and projects that address problems or opportunities that cross state boundaries (multi-state). A socially disadvantaged group is one whose members have been subject to discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, and/or because all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. 

MDA SCBG Funding Priorities

Extra points awarded for projects that fit at least one.

  • Innovation in production, aggregation, processing, packaging.
  • Improving operational efficiency, reducing costs or other barriers, and increasing access to distribution systems and new markets for specialty crops .
  • Increasing the demand for and supply of locally produced specialty crops .
  • Pest and disease control, and varietal improvement .
  • Research on practices that encourage conservation, environmental stewardship, and production (including organic).

Eligible Specialty Crops

The Farm Bill defined specialty crops as "fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops, including floriculture." You can find a more comprehensive list of eligible and ineligible specialty crops here.

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


  • Non-profit organizations, producer organizations, government agencies, universities and other agricultural groups are encouraged to apply. 
    • Projects proposed by individual producers, for-profit businesses, or commercial entities are only eligible only if they demonstrate a significant benefit to the specialty crop industry (or a segment of the industry).
    • Each project must include a plan to share results with a wider audience of beneficiaries.
  • All costs must be associated with project activities that solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Find further guidance on cost principles here (non-profit and government organizations) and here (for-profit organizations). 



  • For-profit entities and businesses are not ineligible, but these are not business development funds; they are for sector-wide research and development projects.