Under the 2014 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's review panel will make the initial review and award recommendations to the USDA. 


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


MDAR is conducting a competitive bid process through a Request for Response (RFR) process to award an estimated $320,000. 

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.


Required Concept Proposal Application (Form A) doc format of Specialty Crop Block Form A

Concept Proposal Instructions (Form B) pdf format of Specialty Crop Block Form B

Specialty Crop Block Grant Program 2016 Solicitation Timeline

Phase IConcept Proposal Due May 13, 2016 by 4:30 pm
Phase IINotification by MDAR to submit grant proposals: May 27, 2016
Phase IIIFull Grant Proposal Due, June 17, 2016 by 4:30 pm