The historic support provided by the 2014 Farm Bill will strengthen rural American communities by supporting local and regional markets and improving access to fresh, healthy, and nutritious high quality products for millions of Americans. The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), is designed to enhance the markets for specialty crops like fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.
"Specialty crop block grants help sustain the livelihoods of American farmers while strengthening the rural economy" said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "These grants contribute to food safety improvements, increased access to healthy food, and new research to help growers increase profitability and sustainability."
As directed by the Farm Bill, the block grants are now allocated to U.S. States and territories based on a formula that takes into consideration both specialty crop acreage and production value. Nearly all states are seeing an increase in funds.
AMS encourages applicants to develop projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, sustain the livelihood of American farmers, and strengthen rural economies by:
Interested applicants should apply directly to their state department of agriculture. Several states have already published their requests for proposals, and the list of FY 2014 State Requests for Proposals is available on the AMS website.