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Apply for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Find out information and how to apply for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.
Due Date is April 9, 2021

Keri Cornman

The Details of Apply for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

What you need for Apply for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funds projects that aim to enhance the production and competitiveness of Specialty Crop industries in Massachusetts.

What is a Specialty Crop?

Find out what qualifies as a Specialty Crop. A full definition and list of Specialty Crops can be found on the USDA – Specialty Crop Website, www.ams.usda.gov/scbgp

Who May Apply?

  • Socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers
  • Eligible non-profit organizations
  • Local government entities
  • For-profit organizations
  • Industry trade associations
  • Producer groups
  • Commodity commissions

Request for Response (RFR)

See “downloads” below to download the Request for Response (RFR). This document outlines and explains all details, requirements, and instructions for the SCBGP.

Application Form C

See “downloads” below to download Application Form C. This document is the template you will use to create and submit your application. All applicants must complete and submit the required application Form C.

How to apply Apply for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Download the RFR and Application (Form C) listed below, and follow the outlined template to create an application and follow necessary required criteria. Detailed instructions for application requirements can be found on the RFR.

Applicants must submit proposals via EMAIL to Keri.Cornman@mass.gov by the deadline of Friday, April 9, 2021 at 5:00 pm.

Applications that are sent by fax will NOT be accepted.

If you wish to receive confirmation of your submission, you must select an email delivery receipt through your own email system. The Department will not accept any late submissions, and will not consider late applications due to technical difficulties, so please be mindful of your submission timeliness.

***Electronic applications are preferred due to COVID-19***

Download the RFR and Application (Form C) listed below, and follow the outlined template to create an application and follow necessary required criteria. Detailed instructions for application requirements can be found on the RFR.

All materials must be sent to the attention of by the deadline of Friday, April 9, 2021 at 5:00 pm.

Keri Cornman, Grants Manager, Department of Agricultural Resources,

Suite 500, 251 Causeway Street 

Boston, MA 02114 

More info for Apply for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

The SCBGP FY21 RFR and other supporting documentation and information is posted openly on Commbuys under Bid # BD-21-1002-1003-001-58151.

Informational Webinars where questions may be asked will be held for interested applicants on the dates listed below. Please contact Rebecca Davidson at Rebecca.Davidson@mass.gov to request access to one of the three webinars.

  • Thursday, February 18, at 9:00 am
  • Tuesday, March 2, at 4:00 pm
  • Friday, March 19, at 12:00 pm

The suggested dollar value of projects is between $40,000 and $90,000 per project. Projects must be solely related to enhancing the competitiveness of Specialty Crops

Examples of Eligible Projects:

  • Increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops;
  • Improving efficiency and reducing costs of distribution systems;
  • Assisting all entities in the specialty crop distribution process in implementing practices and standards that improve food safety which may include but are not limited to the “Commonwealth Quality Program”, “Good Agricultural Practices”, “Good Handling Practices”, “Good Manufacturing Practices”, and in cost-share arrangements for funding audits of such systems for small farmers, packers and processors;
  • Investing in specialty crop research, including research to focus on conservation and environmental outcomes;
  • Developing new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops; 
  • Pest and disease control;
  • Development of organic and sustainable production practices

Examples of Ineligible Projects:

  • A proposal for funds to purchase starter plants or equipment used to plant, cultivate, and grow a specialty crop for the purpose of making a profit, or to expand production of a single business;
  • A proposal for funds from a specialty crop organization to promote their members’ businesses;
  • A proposal for capital expenditures for general purpose equipment, buildings, and land;
  • A proposal that seeks to support a non-specialty crop project.

To the extent applicable at the time a project is commenced under the terms of any contract, projects must be conducted in accordance applicable federal, state, and local public health orders, regulations, ordinances, or other guidance issued related to COVID-19.

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