VDACS News Releases
March 4, 2022
VDACS Announces $600,000 in USDA Specialty Crop Block Grants Available
Request for Applications Now Open, Deadline for Submission is March 21, 2022
Contact: Michael Wallace
Groups seeking to improve the competitiveness of specialty crops in Virginia are eligible to submit proposals for grants up to $75,000 per project. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) anticipates administering nearly $600,000 in federally allocated funds for the development of specialty crops. The deadline for submitting applications is 5 p.m. on Monday, March 21, 2022.
“Specialty Crop Block Grant funds are a great tool for implementing Governor Glenn Youngkin’s priorities of expanding local economic development opportunities and improving food access throughout the Commonwealth. As Virginia’s top private industry, agriculture continues to play a leading role in Virginia’s economy and these funds help further that effort,” said Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr.
Individual producers are not eligible for this grant. Agricultural associations, industry and producer groups, localities, community-based organizations, educational institutions, and non-profits may submit applications to VDACS for United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service Specialty Crop Block Grants.
Specialty crops are fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and nursery crops, including floriculture, that are not typically covered by traditional crop insurance. Specialty crops do not include standard commodities such as corn, wheat, soybeans, peanuts, cotton or tobacco. Processed foods are eligible, provided their development enhances the competitiveness of one or more specialty crops.
Specialty crop competitive grant proposals must be specific and explain how an association, industry group or organization will use the funds to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Some examples include research, promotion and marketing plans, as well as food safety projects and projects that improve food access.
In awarding the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant funds, VDACS will give priority to projects with the sole purpose of enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops as they pertain to the following issues:
Guidelines, instructions and the application for the USDA Specialty Crop Competitive Grants are available online, via e-mail to Melissa Ball at or by mailing VDACS, Specialty Crop Grants Application, 102 Governor Street, Richmond, VA 23219. Applications received after the 5 p.m. on Monday, March 21, 2022, will not be considered for funding. The duration of each grant is two years, and the grant period will begin on October 1, 2022.
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