Vermont Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

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Grant amount: Up to US $200,000

Next deadline: Apr 21, 2020 8:59pm PDT (Full proposal)

Later deadlines: Feb 26, 2021 8:59pm PST (Pre proposal)

Applicant type: Individuals Organizations

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

Location of project: Vermont

Location of residency: Vermont

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Funding Opportunity Description

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) awards Specialty Crop Block Grants to the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories. In Vermont, the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) administers these funds to enhance the competitiveness of Vermont specialty crops by—

  • leveraging efforts to market and promote specialty crops;
  • assisting producers with research and development relevant to specialty crops;
  • expanding availability and access to specialty crops; and
  • addressing local, regional, and national challenges confronting specialty crop producers.

The Vermont SCBGP aims to support all sectors of Vermont’s specialty crop industries and improve the performance of Vermont specialty crops within local, domestic, and international markets. Applications must describe projects that are supported by and address the needs of Vermont specialty crop producers. We encourage projects that will grow Vermont’s economy and sustain farmers’ livelihoods.

Funding Priorities

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, in partnership with statewide specialty crop stakeholders, has identified the following program funding priorities for 2020. Funding priorities are not ranked. 

  • Research, development, and dissemination of innovative production practices to enhance farm viability and/or natural resource conservation
  • Pest and disease management
  • Enhancing food safety and improving the capacity of specialty crop businesses to comply with Food Safety Modernization Act or food safety audit program requirements
  • Value chain enhancement—including strengthening relationships between producers, aggregators, processors, distributors, retail businesses, and consumers
  • Technical assistance to address efficiency, conservation, business viability, workforce development, labor issues, succession planning, and challenges facing beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers
  • Market access (local, regional, national, or international), marketing, branding, and consumer education
  • Producer collaboration—including establishing or strengthening producer associations and cooperatives

VAAFM strongly encourages innovative projects to develop new knowledge that can strengthen the operations of specialty crop producers. We also encourage projects that address one or more goals and indicators for strengthening Vermont’s food system identified in the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan.

Available Funds

There is no minimum or maximum award; however, we competitively award around $200,000 total each year. Over the past 7 years, we competitively awarded individual projects between $5,000 and$58,000. The average award over this period was around $24,000, and 50% of awarded projects received between $12,000 and $33,000.

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