Federal grant funds available for specialty crop industry

INDIANA —The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA), is seeking project proposals from Indiana’s specialty crop sector for funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch

“Beyond traditional row crops and livestock agriculture, Indiana is home to a robust specialty crop sector,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. “I look forward to seeing what projects are selected for this year’s funding allocation as we continue to support this impressive sector of our agricultural economy.”

The USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program offers federal funding annually to state departments of agriculture to support their specialty crop industries. This year, Indiana will be allocating $471,000.00 to selected projects.

Eligible projects must enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in Indiana, defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, horticulture, and nursery crops. 

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 of the USDA performance measures that specifically demonstrate the project’s impact on enhancing the competitiveness of eligible specialty crops.

ISDA is seeking projects that have objectives such as increasing consumption and consumer purchasing, increasing access and distribution, increasing food safety knowledge and processing, developing new seed varieties, and improving environmental sustainability, among other things.

ISDA and USDA encourage applications that benefit smaller farms, new and beginning farmers, underserved producers, veteran producers, and underserved communities.

Applications open on Feb. 22, 2024, and are due by noon ET on March 22, 2024. Proposals must be submitted online through the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s Grants Management System. Indiana Specialty Crop Block Grant application resources are on ISDA’s Grants and Funding Opportunities website.

For more information, click here. For a full list of eligible specialty crops, please click here.