Under the 2008 Farm Bill, MDAR is awarded grant funding from USDA to enhance the competitiveness of Massachusetts’ specialty crops. MDAR conducts an annual competitive application process to award Specialty Crop Grant funds to organizations and individuals. For general USDA grant program background, view SCBGP Information link.
Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops. Eligible plants must be intensively cultivated and used by people for food, medicinal purposes, and/or aesthetic gratification to be considered specialty crops. For a list of eligible and ineligible commodities, see Definition of Specialty Crops.
The USDA is the funding entity and has the final approval of all projects. Prior to the USDA’s approval, MDAR and a review panel of industry representatives will make the initial review and award recommendations to the USDA. The funds available through the SCBGP-FB are authorized under the Specialty Crop Competitiveness Act, amended by the Food Conservation and Energy Act of 2008.
WHO CAN APPLY
Socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers, commodity groups, individuals, agricultural organizations, colleges and universities, producers, municipalities, state agencies, and agricultural non-profits are all eligible for this grant program, provided their proposals meet all the specifications in the Department’s RFR and the USDA’s Notice of Federal Assistance, CFDA 10.170.
All grantees must obtain a Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System. To obtain one, visit http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform
2013 APPLICATION PROCESS
MDAR is conducting a competitive bid process through a Request for Response (RFR) process to award an estimated $400,000. Funding is contingent upon the passage of the Farm Bill (Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012).
MDAR’S Specialty Crop Block Grant Program has a two-phase application process. The first phase is the development of a required Concept Proposal. This step allows applicants to explain the main points of their project without the high level of detail that is necessary during the second phase of the application process. Concept Proposals are competitively ranked and scored by a Review Panel. Projects with the highest combined scores will serve as recommendations to the Commissioner as to which applicants should be asked to complete the second phase of the application process. All projects are subject to the availability of funds.
Specialty Crop Block Grant Program 2013 Solicitation Timeline
Concept Proposal Due March 29, 2013 by 4:30 pm
Notification by MDAR to submit grant proposals: April 29, 2013
Full Grant Proposal Due, May 17, 2013 by 4:30 pm
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