grant program aims to increase specialty crops | Business

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is accepting applications through the Specialty Crops Block Grant Program (SCBGP).

These grants are funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to improve the competitiveness of Arkansas’ specialty crops industry.

Specialty crops are defined by the USDA as fruits, vegetables, horticulture, floriculture, and tree nuts.

The 2021 SCBGP funding is made available in response to priority needs related to COVID-19 and provides flexibilities not typically offered under the SCBGP funding.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture uses a two-phase application process to administer grant funds. Project concept proposals outlining project objectives, tasks and budget requirements must be submitted by March 1.

Entities can apply for both grant opportunities. Once all concept proposals have been reviewed by an advisory committee, selected projects will be invited to submit detailed project proposals.

Applicants are encouraged to develop projects addressing the following issues affecting the specialty crops industry:

— Increase sales and marketing and stimulate demand for specialty crops;

— Increase the consumption of specialty crops in Arkansas schools by expanding children’s knowledge and/or improving access to the nutritional benefits of specialty crops;

— Increase access to local healthy foods;

— Research projects aimed at helping specialty crop growers reduce financial costs, improve pest and disease control and/or value-added products; and

— Improved food security of specialty crops.

Click here to join.

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