USDA Announces $76.8 Million in Grants to Strengthen Specialty Crop Industry

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced on Wednesday it has awarded $72.4 million in grant funding through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) and $4.4 million in grant funding through the new Micro-Grants for Food Security Program (MGFSP). Both are authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill and awarded to eligible states and territories through a non-competitive application process.

SCBGP supports farmers growing specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts and nursery crops. The 56 grant recipients include agricultural agencies and departments in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories. The recipients sub-award projects to increase demand for agricultural goods of value to farmers in their respective state or territory. States are encouraged to award projects pertaining to specialty crop industry issues such as enhancing food safety and improving the capacity of all entities in the specialty crop distribution chain to comply with the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act; investing in specialty crop research, including research to focus on conservation and environmental outcomes, developing new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops, pest and disease control; increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops; and improving efficiency and reducing costs of distribution systems. The grant is awarded for a three-year period beginning Sept. 30, 2020 and sub-awards cannot exceed the award period.

MGFSP is a new program specifically designed to realize USDA’s commitment to support communities across the U.S. that have significant levels of food insecurity and import significant quantities of food. These grants will assist agricultural agencies or departments in Alaska, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Hawaii, and the United States Virgin Islands increase the quantity and quality of locally grown food through small-scale gardening, herding and livestock operations. The recipients competitively distribute sub-awards to eligible entities in communities within their areas that have significant levels of food insecurity and import a significant quantity of food. The grant is awarded for a four-year period beginning September 30, 2020 and sub-awards cannot exceed three years.

The AMS Grants Division works to improve opportunities for U.S. growers and producers. AMS works with a variety of organizations to support rural America and the nation’s agricultural sector. For additional information, visit the AMS Grants & Opportunities web page.