OK Specialty Crop Block Grant

Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry


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

Anticipated deadline: Mar 2, 2019 3:00pm PST

Applicant type: Organizations

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

Location of project: Oklahoma

Location of residency: Oklahoma

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Overview:

Specialty Crop Block Grant

To be eligible for this grant, projects must solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in either domestic or foreign markets and must provide a benefit to more than just the applicant. Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).

Projects will be evaluated on how well they enhance the competitiveness of Oklahoma's specialty crops, soundness and quality of the project plan, measurable outcomes and return on investment. Single organizations, institutions, and individuals are encouraged to participate as project partners.

SCBG funds may be awarded for projects up to 2 years in duration for projects with funding request ranging from a minimum of $10,000.00 to a maximum of $100,000.00.  Travel expenses associated with the project shall follow the ODAFF travel policy. 

Funding Priorities

Applicants are to develop projects that solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Major areas of Focus: (Not limited to these issues affecting the specialty cop industry)

  • Enhancing food safety
  • Good Agricultural Practices
  • Good Handling Practices
  • Good Manufacturing Practices
  • Increasing Specialty Crop nutrition education and consumption
  • Specialty Crop research, pest and disease control
  • Developing or improving marketing channels for specialty crops
  • Developing new and improved seed varieties
  • Improving efficiency and reducing costs of production and distribution systems

Examples of Acceptable Projects

  • 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.

Eligible Expenditures

Generally, expenses that are necessary and reasonable for proper and efficient performance and administration of the project are eligible. Grant funds may not be used to supplant normal business costs but instead must be used to cover the cost incurred for the approved proposed activities. Examples of eligible expenditures include: 

  • Personnel costs – including salary and fringe benefits .
  • Direct operating expenses (other) – any expenses that do not fall into the other categories directly related to the proposed activities .
  • Supplies that cost less than $5,000, such as office supplies, printing services and materials need to accomplish the proposed project.
  • Consultant Services or Subcontractors – Costs of professional and consultant services rendered by persons who are member of a particular profession or possess a special skill.
  • Travel, including mileage reimbursement, transportation and lodging .

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

Eligibility:

  • Eligible Applicants:
    • State, local or, tribal governments, individual producers, producer associations, colleges and universities, community based organizations, processors and other specialty crop stakeholders are eligible to apply either as single entities or in combined efforts. 
  • Eligible projects: 
    • To be eligible, project(s) must solely enhance the competitiveness of an Oklahoma specialty crop, and they must benefit a specialty crop segment as a whole.
    • Projects must include a plan to disseminate results to the targeted segment or industry.
  • Eligible Specialty Crops:
    • Commonly recognized specialty crops are fruits and tree nuts, vegetables, culinary herbs and spices, medicinal plants, as well as nursery, floriculture, and horticulture crops. 
  • Matching funds, either in cash and/or in-kind contribution of 20% of the total project budget will be required by applicants.

Preferences:

  • ODAFF and USDA encourages projects that benefit beginning farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers and projects that address problems or opportunities that cross state boundaries. 
  • Proposals that involve collaboration or partnerships between producers, industry groups, academics, or other organizations are encouraged and will be given priority. 

Ineligibility:

  •  Grant funds will not be awarded for projects that solely benefit a particular commercial product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution, or individual. 
    • Single organizations, institutions, and individuals are encouraged to participate as project partners.
  • Under USDA rules, grants cannot be awarded for projects that only benefit a particular commercial product or provide a profit to a single company or individual.
  • Grant funds may not be used to fund political activities in accordance with provisions of the Hatch Act (5 U.S.C. 1501-1508 and 7324-7326).
  • 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. 
    • A State requests grant funds to make grants to individual specialty crop businesses or roadside stands to promote their individual business. 
    • A sole proprietor requests grant funds to redesign her/his logo in order to make her/his specialty crop value-added product stand out at the local farmers market. 
    • A company that develops specialty crop value-added products requests funds to train its employees how to make its value-added products. 
    • A specialty crop producer requests funds to promote their asparagus at a roadside stand.
  • Ineligible Expenditures: Expenses may be prohibited by state or federal law or determined to be ineligible by program guidelines. Examples of these include, but are not limited to:
    • Alcoholic beverages/ Entertainment 
    • Substituting existing efforts or research already funded
    • Paying off existing debt
    • Brick and mortar (construction) projects
    • Contributions, charitable or political
    • Expenses falling outside of the contract period
    • Expenditures not listed in the project budget or an approved amendment
    • Expenses that are not adequately documented
    • Indirect Cost (may be shown as matching)
    • Fines, penalties, damages and other settlements resulting from violations (or alleged violations) of, or failure of the governmental unit to comply with Federal, State, local or tribal laws and regulations .
    • Meal reimbursements related to travel, meetings conferences or other events .
    • Advertising cost designed solely to promote the image of an organization, general logo or general brand rather than eligible specialty crops are unallowable.