The Indiana State Department of Agriculture will begin accepting proposals Feb. 15 for specialty crops that may be eligible for federal grant funds.
The funding is through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. The state said eligible projects “must enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in Indiana, defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops.”
Additional information about specialty crops is available on the USDA website.
“Indiana is home to an abundance of agricultural sectors, including a robust specialty crop industry that contributes significantly to our economy,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, also Indiana’s secretary of agriculture. “The funding through this program, whether that be research, market development or education and training, will help to greatly advance this industry in our state.”
The government program offers federal funding annually to support the nation’s specialty crop industries. Indiana’s allocation for 2022 is $486,095.35.
From a recent survey of producers, ISDA learned programs of interest around the state included enhancing food safety, pest and disease control, developing organic and sustainable production practices, and developing local and regional food systems.
The state said funding will not be awarded to projects that benefit a particular commercial product, or provide a profit to a single organization, institution or individual. Each project must identify at least one of the new USDA performance measures that specifically demonstrates the project’s impact on enhancing the competitiveness of eligible specialty crops.
“These funds have the potential to make a substantial impact on the specialty crop industry,” said Bruce Kettler, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. “I encourage those involved in the specialty crop sector to apply and work toward further supporting this industry and enhancing its significance in our state.”
Applications open Feb. 15 and are due by 11:59 p.m. EST March 8. Proposals must be submitted online through the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s Grants Management System.
ISDA is hosting a webinar for interested applicants on Feb. 22. Registration information is available on the ISDA website.