IDALS sets $271,000 in grants for specialty crops
DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will again be making grants available to help enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops grown in Iowa.
The Department is eligible to receive approximately $271,000 in grant funding through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which is run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Marketing Service. This is the last of five specialty crop grants authorized through the farm bill.
“These funds are available to support food safety, research and marketing efforts that will encourage Iowans to choose the products that are produced right here in our state,” Northey said.
Iowa agencies, universities, institutions, and producer, industry, and community-based organizations are all eligible to apply for funding to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.
In addition, single organizations, institutions, and individuals are encouraged to participate as project partners.
Grant awards will be considered up to a maximum of $24,000 and projects can have a duration of up to 30 months.
Grant funds shall be used for projects that solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops that benefit the specialty crop industry as a whole and will not be awarded for projects that directly benefit a particular product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution, or individual.
Eligible crops include fruit, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.
Proposals must be received by IDALS on or before 4 p.m. on May 4.
For more information visit the IDALS Specialty Crop Block Grant program at www.IowaAgriculture.gov/Horticulture_and_FarmersMarkets/specialtyCropGrant.asp.
The Department is also establishing a review committee to help review, evaluate and make recommendations on grant proposals submitted to the Department.
Those interested in participating on the committee should have knowledge of specialty crops and/or grant writing or grant management experience, and the ability to devote the necessary time to complete the review process.
Applications to participate in the review committee are due March 30 by 4 p.m.
In addition, to ensure that funds are used in the most efficient manner possible, the Department is asking specialty crop stakeholders and organizations to submit public comments on program priorities. The comments will help the Department identify priorities, establish the criteria used to evaluate the projects proposed for funding, and to determine how the reviews are conducted.
Iowans interested in submitting comments about the program can do so online by emailing HYPERLINK “mailto:“mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com“ \o “mailto:HorticultureAndFarmersMarkets@IowaAgriculture.gov“ HorticultureAndFarmersMarkets@IowaAgriculture.gov or by mail to Horticulture and Farmers Market Bureau, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, 502 East 9th, Des Moines, Iowa, 50319. Comments received by May 4 will be presented to the review committee to assist in prioritizing projects.
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