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Get the Inside Scoop on our Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Onions and other crops being grown on Zenger Farm. The non-profit that runs the farm, Friends of Zenger Farm, was awarded a grant through the state of Oregon this fall for an initiative that aims to increase the number of community farms accepting SNAP.  Photo by Theo Elliot.

Onions and other crops being grown on Zenger Farm. The non-profit that runs the farm, Friends of Zenger Farm, was awarded a grant through the state of Oregon this fall for an initiative that aims to increase the number of community farms accepting SNAP. Photo by Theo Elliot.

As part of our continuing education efforts, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is pleased to announce the next installment of our webinar series. This episode is designed for people interested in applying for grants offered through local state departments of agriculture for our Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

Specialty crops are a subset of the produce industry that includes fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, nuts, horticulture, and nursery crops. AMS offers funds to help the specialty crop industry promote its products via tools like marketing campaigns and educational programs. In October, we offered grants to support projects in 50 U.S. states, four territories, and the District of Columbia that encourage the consumption of specialty crops. We are holding this webinar to increase awareness of this program and let people know how they can apply for a grant.

In addition to the health benefits of increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables, specialty crop grants help support the local businesses that produce these crops. Here at AMS, we take great pride in opening doors and expanding opportunities for our specialty crop producers.

When looking at this year’s projects, we are pleased that our grants helped producers improve their distribution models and overcome other business challenges. For instance, projects like the partnership between the California Department of Agriculture and the Sacramento Area Council of Governments to assess whether they can develop a food hub to send specialty crops to food banks, or the Friends of Zenger Farm initiative in Oregon to increase the number of community farms that accept SNAP. Our hope is that others will be inspired by projects like this and that they will watch Grant Opportunity: Enhancing the Competitiveness of Specialty Crops, the next in the series. Viewers will be able to learn more about our program by listening to Trista Etzig, the manager of the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

The next episode in our series will take place on Dec. 15. We encourage you to register before the Dec. 9, deadline and check out some of the previous topics covered in the webinar series prior to watching the current episode.

4 Responses to “Get the Inside Scoop on our Specialty Crop Block Grant Program”

  1. Maria brazelton says:

    I am trying to partner with an ecologist ,environmentalist landscaper /farmer to obtain a grant to produce crops and start a community garden. The target location is in New Mexico. If anyone can help me with a resource please email me.

  2. Danny hall says:

    I have built a nut haverester for local home use and disabled people i would like to get a grant to advertise and promote this its easy to build and use.

  3. Hakim Fobia says:

    @Maria Brazelton @Danny Hall: You should check out the USDA’s grants and loan opportunities page (http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=GRANTS_LOANS). This is your source for funding available through the USDA. This page includes information about the Farmers Market Promotion Program, Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, and the Federal State Marketing Improvement Program, which are all funding opportunities made available through the Agricultural Marketing Service.

    You need to apply for our Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funds through your State Department of Agriculture. Check out our Specialty Crop Block Grant Program page(http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/SCBGP)to find a list of state contacts, information on previous projects awarded grants, and much more.

  4. Onion Coop says:

    The Onion ipmPIPE is funded in part by the USDA’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative established by the 2008 Farm Bill; and has been endorsed by state and national onion organizations throughout all major onion-producing regions of the country. Part of the funding has helped in the creation of an Onion “decision support” website at http://www.onion.coop

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