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Northey: Specialty crops grants available

By Staff | Jan 27, 2017

DES MOINES (IDALS) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced Jan. 11 that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is accepting applications for grant funding through the Specialty Crop Block Grant program.

The grants are available to support projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops grown in Iowa.

The final funding level for the 2017 Iowa Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is yet to be announced by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service that administer the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, but is expected to be similar to last years $244,352 funding.

Grant funds shall be used for projects 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.

Iowa agencies, universities, institutions, and producer, industry, and community based organizations are all eligible to apply for funding. In addition, 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 (2 years).

“Specialty Crops” that are eligible under this program are fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. Both fresh and processed specialty crops are eligible.

Proposals must be received by IDALS on or before 4 p.m. April 3. For more information visit the IDALS Specialty Crop Block Grant program at www.IowaAgriculture.gov/Horticulture-and-FarmersMarkets/specialtyCropGrant.asp.

The Department is establishing a review committee to help evaluate and make recommendations on grant proposals submitted to IDALS.

Those interested in participating in the review 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.

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 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 April 3, 2017 will be presented to the review committee to assist in prioritizing projects.

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