INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) is currently seeking project proposals from Indiana’s specialty crop industry to present for funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. The proposals must enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in Indiana, defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, horticulture, and nursery crops.
“Indiana is a thriving home to many agricultural endeavors, which includes producing a variety of outstanding specialty crops,” said. Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch. “This funding opportunity will allow our specialty crop industry the ability to advance through research, market development, and education and training.”
The USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program offers federal funding annually to the state departments of agriculture to support their specialty crop industries. The allocation amount for Indiana is unknown at this time.
Applicants can include non-profit and for-profit organizations, governments, and public or private colleges and universities. ISDA encourages applicants to develop projects focused on issues such as enhancing food safety, pest and disease control, developing organic and sustainable production practices, and developing local and regional food systems.
Funding will not be awarded to projects that benefit a particular commercial product, or provide a profit to a single organization, institution or individual. Each project must identify at least one expected measurable outcome that specifically demonstrates the project’s impact on enhancing the competitiveness of eligible specialty crops.
ISDA’s funding priority will focus on three main areas:
- Funding Area I: Market Enhancement
- Funding Area II: Access, Education and Training
- Funding Area III: Research
“It is more important now than ever to leverage these financial opportunities, and I want to encourage all eligible businesses or organizations to apply,” said Bruce Kettler, Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director. “These dollars will go a long way in ensuring Indiana’s robust specialty crop sector remains thriving for years to come.”
Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on March 25, 2021, and proposals must be submitted online through the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s Grants Management System.