The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA), beginning Feb. 15, will seek project proposals from Indiana’s specialty crop sector for funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Eligible projects must enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in Indiana, defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops.
“Indiana is home to an abundance of agricultural sectors, including a robust specialty crop industry that contributes significantly to our economy,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Secretary of Agriculture. “The funding through this program, whether that be research, market development or education and training, will help to greatly advance this industry in our state.”
The USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program offers federal funding annually to the state departments of agriculture to support their specialty crop industries. Indiana’s allocation is $486,095.35.
ISDA created and distributed a funding priority survey in early 2022 for specialty crop funding; respondents included stakeholders across the specialty crop industry. Based on the survey suggested projects included enhancing food safety, pest and disease control, developing organic and sustainable production practices, and developing local and regional food systems. When the application opens please refer to the notice of funding opportunity for a full list of suggested projects.
Funding will not be awarded to projects that benefit a particular commercial product, or provide a profit to a single organization, institution or individual. Each project must identify at least one of the new USDA performance measures that specifically demonstrates the project’s impact on enhancing the competitiveness of eligible specialty crops.
“These funds have the potential to make a substantial impact on the specialty crop industry,” said Bruce Kettler, Indiana State Department of Agriculture director. “I encourage those involved in the specialty crop sector to apply and work toward further supporting this industry and enhancing its significance in our state.”
Applications open on Feb. 15, 2022 and are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on March 8, 2022. Proposals must be submitted online through the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s Grants Management System. ISDA will host a SCBGP webinar for interested applicants on February 22, 2022. Registration information is available on ISDA’s Funding Opportunities website.