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Home > Grants, Loans & Financing > Grant Opportunities > Specialty Crop Grants

Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is seeking grant applications from Minnesota organizations to “increase the competitiveness of our specialty crops” in domestic and foreign markets.

Specialty crops are defined by the USDA as: fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, floriculture, and processed products with 50% or more specialty crop content. A more comprehensive list of eligible (and ineligible) crops is available. Non-profit organizations, producer organizations, government agencies, universities and other agricultural groups are encouraged to apply. For-profit entities, farms and other businesses are eligible, but these are not business development funds; they are for sector-wide research and development projects. Applications for grant funds should describe how the project potentially affects and produces measurable outcomes for the specialty crop industry and/or the public.

The MDA Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) funding priorities:

  • Improving operational efficiency, reducing costs or other barriers, or increasing access to distribution systems and new markets for specialty crops
  • Increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops
  • Pest and disease control, or developing new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops
  • Specialty crop research, including research focusing on sustainability, conservation or environmental outcomes
  • Improving the capacity of all entities in the specialty crop distribution chain to comply with the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act

Projects that benefit beginning farmers or socially disadvantaged farmers will receive bonus points.

The MDA will consider any comments regarding SCBG funding priorities for future RFPs.

How to Apply

Applications for a FFY 2018 SCBG are due via the MDA’s online application portal by 4:00 PM on Thursday, March 15, 2018.

Application Forms and Guidance

Anticipated Timeline

  • Request for proposals released – January 2018
  • Applications due 4:00pm CST – March 15, 2018
  • Applications scored, selected and notified – April 2018
  • Minnesota State Plan submitted to USDA – May 2018
  • Anticipated USDA approval and grantee notification of award – October 2018
  • Earliest anticipated project start date – November 1, 2018
  • Project end date is no later than March 31, 2021

MDA Contact

Ann Kuzj, Grants Specialist
ann.kuzj@state.mn.us, 651-201-6028

Ag Marketing & Development Division