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SPECIALTY CROP COMPETITIVE GRANT PROGRAM

The purpose of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is to solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.

State agriculture agencies apply directly to the USDA for these grant funds. In an effort to reach specialty crop initiatives throughout the state, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) established a competitive grant process:

  • VDACS accepts grant proposals for the development of specialty crop projects that will support and enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in Virginia. 
  • Once all proposals are submitted, VDACS carefully reviews and evaluates each proposal based on the criteria in the application. All VDACS-approved projects are developed into one Virginia grant submission to the USDA. 
  • Upon approval from USDA, VDACS notifies applicants (sub-grantees) of their status. No final awards to any sub-grantee are made until a final grant award is made to VDACS (grantor) by USDA.

Please note that all deadlines and funding are contingent upon the final U.S. Farm Bill and Notice of Funds Availability from USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service.

Eligible Applicants

Applications are accepted from agricultural associations, industry and producer groups, community-based organizations and academia that seek to improve the competitiveness of specialty crops in Virginia. Applications should describe how the project potentially impacts and produces measurable outcomes for the specialty crop industry and/or the public rather than a single organization, institution or individual.

How to Apply

Eligible Specialty Crops

Specialty crops are defined in law as “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.” Click here for a complete list.

Timeline

  • February 3, 2017: VDACS announces grant opportunity
  • March 13, 2017 at 5:00 PM: Application Deadline
  • April, 2017: VDACS evaluates proposals
  • June, 2017: VDACS submits Virginia grant submission to USDA
  • Late September/Early October: VDACS sends award letters, grant agreements and project information packets. Grant awards announced in press release.
  • October: Projects officially start on October 1 of the current year

Past Virginia Projects


Contact

Melissa Ball
Special Projects Manager
804.786.5448
melissa.ball@vdacs.virginia.gov

Click here for additional Sales & Market Development contacts.


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