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SPECIALTY FOCUS: For the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, funding priority will be given to projects with a focus on market enhancement, research, and training and education.

Program provides grants to advance specialty crops

Proposals are due to MDARD by Feb. 15.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is requesting proposals for projects to enhance the competitiveness of Michigan’s specialty crops. The project is part of the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program through the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Services. Grant funding is contingent on the availability of funds from USDA.

Grant proposals must be received by MDARD no later than 3 p.m. Feb. 15.

The grants, with a maximum award of $100,000, enhance the competitiveness of the state’s specialty crops, including promotion, marketing, research, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, plant health programs, education, increased knowledge and consumption, increased innovation, improved efficiency and reduced costs of distribution systems, environmental concerns and conservation, product development, good agricultural practices, good handling practices, and good manufacturing practices.

Funding priority will be given to projects with a focus on:

 market enhancement, as in market expansion and access

 research, as in health and pest management, and farm sustainability

 training and education, such as food safety, environmental sustainability and labor

Eligible applicants include nonprofits; local, state, and federal government entities; and for-profit organizations. The organizations must be legal entities recognized by the Internal Revenue Service, and applicants must reside or conduct their business or organization in Michigan. Applications should demonstrate how the project will potentially produce measurable impacts for the specialty crop industry as a whole and not for the exclusive benefit to a specific product, single organization, institution or individual.

For program information, application form or submission criteria, visit michigan.gov/mdardgrants.

Source: MDARD

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