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2015 USDA/AMS Specialty Crop Block Grant program requests applications

ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) announces the competitive solicitation process to award the 2015 USDA/AMS (Agricultural Marketing Service) Specialty Crop Block Program grant. Georgia’s funding award is estimated to be $1.4 million (this award is contingent upon the availability of funding from USDA/AMS).

Individual project award funding requests require a minimum request of $10,000 up to a maximum of $175,000. Awarded projects will have three years to complete the requirements of the grant.

Refer to the links available on the GDA grants webpage located at www.agr.georgia.gov/grants.aspx for the grant application, guidelines, and additional information.

Eligibility

Proposals will be accepted from non-profit organizations and corporations, commodity commissions, associations, state and local government entities, and colleges and universities. Applicants must reside or their business or educational affiliation must be in Georgia.  Individuals and for-profit organizations are not eligible to apply.

The project proposal must focus on research, education, marketing, etc., and benefit the specialty crop industry.

Purpose

The purpose of the SCBGP is to provide funding for projects that solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Specialty crops are defined as: fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, Christmas trees, turfgrass/sod, nursery and greenhouse crops, including floriculture. See the specific listing of eligible crops on the USDA/AMS website located at www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/scbgp.

Funding priorities

The following have been identified as funding priorities for the 2015 SCBGP for Georgia:

• Projects which increase sales and marketability and drive demand for commercially grown specialty crops.

• Projects which expand child and adult knowledge of nutritional benefits, improve access, and increase consumption for Georgia specialty crops.

• Projects to help specialty crop growers/producers reduce the financial cost and/or environmental impact of their operations, including improved pest and disease management techniques, efficient water management, sustainable production, etc.

• Projects with eligible funding priorities submitted by socially disadvantaged and/or minority applicants.

• GDA’s intent is to fund projects that can produce the highest degree of measurable benefits to Georgia’s specialty crop producers, in relation to each dollar spent.

Projected timeline

April 17: Project Proposal/Application submission deadline to GDA

Project Proposal/Application must be received by 4:30 p.m., via email in Word format to Jeanne.maxwell@agr.georgia.gov

May: GDA/Specialty Crop Review Committee evaluation of applications

June: Notice to applicants of acceptance/denial of their project proposals by Review Committee

Revisions made to projects before submission to USDA/AMS-SCBGP

July

Submit Georgia’s State Grant Application Request to USDA/AMS-SCBG

Early September: Send out award letters to awardees/subgrantees

Send out grant contract agreements to awardees/sub-grantees

Announce grant awards through press release/website