The Georgia Department of Agriculture announced today the competitive solicitation process to award the 2012 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP). The program funds projects that “enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.” Specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, Christmas trees, turfgrass/sod, nursery and greenhouse crops, including floriculture.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will make approximately $55 million available total for the program. Georgia’s share will be $1.130 million.
“The goal of this grant program is to help fund projects that can produce the highest degree of measurable benefits to Georgia’s specialty crop producers, in relation to each dollar spent,” said Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black. “We encourage organizations such as nonprofits, commodity commissions, associations, state and local government entities and colleges and universities to consider applying.”
Note that USDA-AMS rules state: “Grant funds will NOT be awarded for projects that solely benefit a particular commercial product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution, or individual. Single organizations, institutions, and individuals are encouraged to participate as project partners.”
Grants will be awarded for up to three years. Applicants must reside or their business or educational affiliation must be in Georgia. All grant applications must be submitted to the Department by 4:30 p.m. on Monday, April 16.
“Once all applications are submitted to GDA, each one will be carefully reviewed and evaluated by a Review Committee,” said Jeanne Maxwell, Grants Administrator for the Department. “Then, all Department-approved projects will be combined and written as one grant submission to the USDA/AMS. Upon approval from USDA, we will notify applicants of their status, which we expect to be in September 2012.”
Interested organizations can find a full list of all eligible crops here: www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/scbgp. Please refer to the Department’s website for the grant application, guidelines and additional information: www.agr.georgia.gov. For questions or additional information, contact Maxwell at 404-657-1584 or Jeanne.Maxwell@agr.georgia.gov.