The annual application period is now open for the Specialty Crops Block Grant Program (SCBGP), funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and administered by the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA). CDA is accepting applications for the grant program in the form of a concept proposal through February 7, 2022.
USDA partners with state departments of agriculture to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in areas such as marketing, promotion, education, research, trade and nutrition. Priorities for Colorado’s specialty crop program include: supporting the next generation of farmers and ranchers, scaling‐up high‐value agriculture and diverse market opportunities, and promoting and incentivizing soil, water, and climate stewardship.
"As we work to increase resilience and diversity in our food system, Specialty Crop Block Grants provide an opportunity for producers to invest in projects that boost competitiveness and production efficiency," said Jennifer Benson, Specialty Crops Block Grant Program Manager. "By funding projects that impact and produce measurable outcomes for the specialty crop industry and consumers, these grants benefit Colorado as a whole."
CDA anticipates that approximately $700,000 will be available for this year’s grant program, with approved projects starting early in 2023. Producer groups, organizations, and associations, as well as state and local organizations, educational institutions, and other specialty crops stakeholders are eligible to apply either as single entities or in combined efforts. SCBGP will not award grant funds for projects that solely benefit a particular commercial product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution, or individual.
Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops.
Interested applicants should submit a concept proposal outlining their proposed project. Concept proposals will then undergo a competitive review process, and those selected will be invited to submit a full application to be included in Colorado’s state plan to USDA.
Concept proposals must be received electronically, at firstname.lastname@example.org, by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, February 7, 2022. Program guidelines and application materials are available on the CDA Specialty Crops Block Grants website.