Specialty Crop Project Funding

More specialty crop projects get funding

Additional assistance courtesy of COVID-19 stimulus funding

Four Specialty Crop Block Grant projects have received funding through congressional COVID-19 stimulus funding via House Bill 133 to address COVID-19 impacts to the food system. One grant will focus on supporting beneficiary beekeepers who were impacted by lack of hands-on training due to COVID-19 and will highlight the safe production of honey for sale in the market. (Jason Riedy, Flickr/Creative Commons)

INDIANAPOLIS — In August 2021, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) announced that Indiana received additional grant funding for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which is allocated through the United States Department of Agriculture – Agriculture Marketing Service (USDA-AMS). This funding was to provide additional specialty crop grants to address COVID-19 impacts to the food system through congressional COVID-19 stimulus funding via House Bill 133. ISDA has announces that the special COVID-19 funded specialty crop block grant projects totaled $594,037.24 and have been allocated to four projects.

“I commend our federal delegation for recognizing the impact COVID-19 had on our farmers and producers and for setting aside additional funding for specialty crop growers,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Couch, Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. “These four projects awarded are sure to make great strides with this funding, and I look forward to seeing their visions, programs and marketing expertise come to life.”

This round of specialty crop block grant funding was in addition to the annual specialty crop block grant funding provided from USDA-AMS. Specialty crops for Indiana are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops.

“Our department is proud to administer and support these specialty crop projects through the generous funding of our congressional leaders,” said Bruce Kettler, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. “Specialty crops are a vital piece of our agriculture industry in Indiana, and we were excited to see so many unique projects apply this funding round. Congratulations to each of the selected projects, I look forward to working with you all.”

Specialty Crop Block Grants are available to nonprofit and for-profit organizations, governments, public or private colleges and universities for up to a three-year project term and will fund specialty crop research, education and market development. To qualify, projects must aim to benefit the industry as a whole, rather than one product, individual or organization. Applications undergo a competitive scoring process, including review by an external scoring committee.

Some of the projects awarded for this additional funding cycle include ready to eat food research and development, a youth mentorship program, a community garden and funding for past military service men and women to produce and market honey.

Visit www.isda.in.gov for more information about the Specialty Crop Block Grant program.

— Indiana State Department of Agriculture

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