Washington Opens Competition For Specialty Crop Project Funds

Pre-proposals are due on Feb. 25.

Published on: Feb 5, 2013

If you are a specialty crop farmer in Washington producing fruits, vegetables or nursery products, you have an opportunity to launch you new ideas via a Special Crop Block grant.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture announces that nearly $3 million in federal grant money is available for specialty crop projects in the state to enhance the fruit, vegetable and nursery industries.

The USDA funds through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program are the result of a one-year extension of the program established under the 2008 Farm Bill.

Private and non-profit organizations, crop commodity commissions and other public entities can request funding of from $25,000 to $250,000 for projects that will benefit the competitiveness of specialty crop producers.

Specialty crops like strawberries qualify for special federal grant money for promotional projects through the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
Specialty crops like strawberries qualify for special federal grant money for promotional projects through the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

All of the approved projects must be completed within three years of the funding date. The timeline for the funds administered through the WSDA includes these grant competition deadlines.

•Pre-proposals are due to WSDA by 5 p.m. Feb. 25.
•WSDA will review all pre-proposals and invite selected projects to send full proposals in during early April.
•Complete grant proposals are due in late April.
•WSDA will pick and submit the winning proposals to USDA in mid-July.
•USDA will announce their awards in October, and WSDA grant agreements will be issued by November.
•WSDA will offer those who did not qualify for the grants the opportunity to request feedback on their proposals.

Visit www.agr.wa.gov/Grants/SCBGP for application information and forms.

Further information on the program, lists of eligible products, and a federal requirement listing, go to USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service website at www.ams.usda.gov/scbgp or contact WSDA's Rianne Perry at rperry@agr.wa.gov or at (360) 902-2177.

Based on feedback from Washington's specialty crop industries, WSDA is seeking projects that focus on controlling pests and diseases, improving food safety, promoting international trade, protecting key resource, enhancing domestic markets, and developing organic and sustainable production practices.