Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey t announced that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is accepting grant applications for the Specialty Crop Block Grant program. The grants are available to support projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops grown in Iowa.
The Department is tentatively scheduled to receive approximately $271,000 in grant funding through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program which is run by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. This funding is contingent on the federal funds being made available to the Department.
“The Specialty Crop Block Grant provides funds to support food safety, research and marketing efforts that will encourage Iowans to choose the products that are produced right here in our state,” Northey said. “Specialty crops are a very important part of Iowa agriculture as they allow farmers to diversify and give customers access to locally grown products.”
Grant funds shall be used for projects that solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops that benefit the specialty crop industry as a whole and will not be awarded for projects that directly benefit a particular product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution, or individual.
Iowa agencies, universities, institutions, and producer, industry, and community based organizations are all eligible to apply for funding to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. In addition, single organizations, institutions, and individuals are encouraged to participate as project partners.
Grant awards will be considered up to a maximum of $24,000 and projects can have a duration of up to 30 months
“Specialty Crops” that are eligible under this program are fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. Both fresh and processed specialty crops are eligible.
Proposals must be received by IDALS on or before 4:00 p.m. on Friday, May 3, 2013.
For more information visit the IDALS Specialty Crop Block Grant program at the Department’s web site at www.IowaAgriculture.gov/Horticulture_and_FarmersMarkets/specialtyCropGrant.asp.