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 $350,000. 

MDAR’S Specialty Crop Block Grant Program has a two-phase application process. The first phase is the development of the SCBGP Application (“Form C”). All applicants must complete, and submit the required application (Form C). Any other format will not be accepted, and the application will be deemed ineligible for funding. The SCBGP application (form C) is due by April 14, 2017 by 4:30 pm.

The second phase is an in-person presentation of the applicant’s proposal. Applicants who are invited to the In-person proposal presentation must present their plans to an MDAR review panel and be able to answer questions regarding their proposal. Presentations should include a brief discussion of need for the project, and should further describe the project’s approach, deliverables, and specific measurable outcomes. Visual materials (e.g., PowerPoint slides) are allowed, but are not required. Presentations will be used to augment Form C and allow applicants to clarify questions in their Form C submissions.



Specialty Crop Block Grant Program 2017 Solicitation Timeline

Phase 1

SCBGP Grant Application (“Form C”) (Received or hand delivered by 4:30 pm)

April 14, 2017
April 28, 2017 Invitations for in person proposal presentations

Phase ll

In-person proposal presentations scheduled and Completed

May 15 and 16, 2017


State Plan Submitted to the USDA

June 15, 2017