The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is offering approximately $1 million in grants to government, collegiate and nonprofit agencies interested in improving the competitiveness of specialty crops across the state.
"Last year, the department awarded more than $1.1 million in grants," said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. "Those grants have already helped promote established crops like sweet potatoes, and have funded new research for hops, organic farming and other projects still getting off the ground. These funds go a long way to help small farmers diversify their crops and stay competitive in the marketplace."
The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is managed by the NCDA&CS and funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the 2008 farm bill. Funding is available for a variety of projects related to enhancing the competitiveness of fruits and tree nuts, vegetables, culinary herbs and spices, medicinal plants, as well as nursery, floriculture and horticulture crops. See a comprehensive listing of eligible crops here.
NCDA&CS will accept grant applications starting at $20,000 from nonprofit organizations, commodity associations, state and local government agencies, colleges and universities. Grants are not available for projects that directly benefit or provide a profit to a single organization, institution or individual. The application deadline is 5 p.m. April 26.
For grant manuals and an application, go to www.NCSpecialtyCropGrant.org.
At that site you will also find links to information regarding program costs.
State and/or local governmental units, academia (universities and colleges), and non-profit organizations, including producer associations, community based organizations and other specialty crop stakeholders are eligible to apply either as single entities or in combined efforts. Multi-state projects will not be considered as a high priority in this offering by NCDA&CS.
Questions may be directed to Jeff Camden, NCDA&CS grant administrator, at 919-707-3111 or SpecialtyCropGrant@ncagr.gov.