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

Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

In anticipation of funding, under the Farm Bill, 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 in law as: fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. A more comprehensive list of eligible (and ineligible) crops is available. These funds may be used to further a specialty crop industry or segment; they will not be granted for the benefit of a single organization, institution, business or individual. Non-profit organizations, producer organizations, government agencies, universities and other agricultural groups are encouraged to apply.

MDA SCBG funding priorities:

  • Innovation in production, aggregation, processing, packaging
  • Improving operational efficiencies, reducing costs or other barriers, and increasing access to distribution systems and new markets for specialty crops
  • Increasing the demand-for and supply-of locally produced specialty crops
  • Pest and disease control, and varietal improvement
  • Development of food safety practices including “Good Agricultural Practices”, “Good Handling Practices” and “Good Manufacturing Practices”
  • Practices that encourage conservation and environmental stewardship, including organic specialty crops research

Note:  MDA will consider any comments regarding SCBG funding priorities for future consideration 

How to Apply

Applications are due via MDA’s online application portal (preferred) or via email to using the fillable .pdf application template by 4:00 PM on Thursday, April 30, 2015. If submitting via email, the signature page may be attached as a separate .pdf (along with support letters), if electronic signature is not an option.

Note:  The new application period will be announced in February 2016.

Application Forms and Guidance

Anticipated Timeline

  • Request for proposals released – February 2015
  • Applications due 4:00pm CST – April 30, 2015
  • Applications scored, selected and notified – April-May 2015
  • Minnesota State Plan submitted to USDA – June 2015
  • Anticipated USDA approval and approval letters to grantees – October 2015
  • Anticipated project start date – November-December 2015 Projects conclude no later than – June 30, 2018

MDA Contact

Julianne LaClair, Grants Specialist

Brian Erickson, Ag. Marketing Specialist, Sr.

Ag Marketing & Development Division