CT DoAg Announces Funding Opportunities for Connecticut Specialty Crops
(HARTFORD) The Connecticut Department of Agriculture (CT DoAg) is now accepting applications for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) for the 2023 program year. Applicants must submit a completed application by March 1, 2023 at 4:00 PM using Cognito Forms.
Funding priorities for the 2023 SCBGP include:
· Research, development, and dissemination of innovative production practices to enhance farm viability, natural resource conservation, and climate change mitigation and adaptation
· Market access (local, regional, national, or international), marketing, branding, and consumer education
· Producer collaboration—including establishing or strengthening producer associations and cooperatives
· Value chain enhancement—including strengthening relationships between producers, aggregators, processors, distributors, retail businesses, and consumers
· Pest and disease management
· Technical assistance to address efficiency, conservation, climate change, business viability, workforce development, labor issues, succession planning, and challenges facing beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers
· Enhancing food safety and improving the capacity of specialty crop businesses to comply with Food Safety Modernization Act or food safety audit program requirements
“Specialty crops contribute significantly to Connecticut’s agriculture sector and this funding is pivotal to supporting initiatives that will benefit a wide variety of specialty crop producers,” said Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt said. “From pest and disease management to technical assistance and enhancing food safety modernization, the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funds strengthen our food systems through enhanced agricultural production.”
Eligible applicants include commodity groups, agricultural organizations, colleges and universities, municipalities, state agencies, and agricultural nonprofits. Projects must benefit the industry as a whole and not a single organization, business, or commercial product. As a result, individual farms or businesses are encouraged to apply and partner with other eligible applicants rather than apply themselves. This is a reimbursement grant with awards up to $100,000. CT DoAg strongly encourages innovative projects to develop new knowledge that can strengthen specialty crop businesses.
The goal of the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is to solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in domestic and foreign markets. Specialty crops are defined as any fruit or vegetable, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops, including floriculture. Also included is honey, maple syrup, Christmas trees and processed foods/food products which are made of at least 50% specialty crops (excluding added water). An eligible plant must be intensively cultivated and used by people for food, medicinal purposes, and/or aesthetic gratification to be considered a specialty crop.
For more information on the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, including grant guidance, application link, and project profile template, please visit the website, https://portal.ct.gov/DOAG/ADaRC/Publications/Specialty-Crop-Block-Grant.
The Connecticut Department of Agriculture mission is to foster a healthy economic, environmental, and social climate for agriculture by developing, promoting, and regulating agricultural businesses; protecting agricultural and aquacultural resources; enforcing laws pertaining to domestic animals; and promoting an understanding among the state's citizens of the diversity of Connecticut agriculture, its cultural heritage, and its contribution to the state's economy. For more information, visit www.CTGrown.gov.
For Immediate Release: Friday, February 10, 2023
Contact: Rebecca Eddy, 860-573-0323, Rebecca.Eddy@ct.gov