now accepting specialty crop grant proposals
Applications for funds are due April 28
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[March 22, 2017]
SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA)
is now accepting proposals for federal specialty crop grants. The
agency anticipates Illinois will receive roughly $525,000 from the
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to distribute to
state projects; however, the exact dollar amount has yet to be
determined. The funds will come from the Specialty Crop Block Grant
Program in the Farm Bill. They are available for projects beginning
in calendar year 2018, and are intended to expand the availability
of fresh, locally-grown produce and strengthen the competitiveness
of our specialty crop industry.
According to USDA, projects seeking funding should benefit
underserved communities and veterans, aim to improve producer
capacity with the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization
Act, develop adaptation and mitigation strategies for farmers in
drought-stricken regions, increase opportunities for new and
beginning farmers, develop strong local and regional food
systems, protect pollinator habitats and improve pollinator
Projects that benefit a particular commercial product or provide
a profit to a single organization, institution or individual are
ineligible. Farmers' markets, roadside stands and
community-sponsored agriculture programs should consider
submitting proposals to the USDA's Farmers' Market and Local
Food Promotion Program.
"Over the years this grant program has become highly competitive
with the number of applications growing each year," said
Director Raymond Poe. "That is a testament to Illinois'
agriculture community. These projects have identified needs in
our communities, and are encouraging more and more people to
participate in agriculture and healthy lifestyles."
The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service defines specialty
crops as "fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and
horticulture and nursery crops (including floriculture)."
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Illinois is the nation's leading producer of pumpkins and
horseradish, and ranks in the top ten in acreage of cantaloupes,
green peas, lima beans, and sweet corn. Illinois also is home to a
flourishing grape and wine market. Sales of all specialty crops in
Illinois, including nursery and greenhouse sales, totaled almost
$470 million in 2012.
The IDOA will accept grant proposals until April 28, 2017, at 4pm.
Request for proposal packets and additional information about the
program can be found online at the department's website at
more information call (217) 524-9129.
[Illinois Department of AGriculture]