Home » Ag commissioner encourages producers, organizations to apply for specialty crop funding

Ag commissioner encourages producers, organizations to apply for specialty crop funding

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 7, 2012) — Kentucky producers and organizations may apply to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture for funding from the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

“Kentucky’s climate and soil are well suited for production of specialty crops,” said Agriculture Commissioner James Comer. “These funds will help expand Kentucky’s specialty crop production and diversify our agriculture industry. I encourage all eligible individuals and organizations to apply.”

Specialty crops are defined by USDA as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops. Kentucky received a grant of $260,991.65 from USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service for projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in Kentucky.

Commodity groups, agriculture organizations, colleges and universities, producers, municipalities, state agencies and nonprofit organizations may apply provided their proposals meet all the specifications in the Request for Applications and USDA’s Notice of Federal Assistance. Proposed projects must aim to enhance the production and competitiveness of Kentucky specialty crops. Applicants must reside in Kentucky, or their business or educational affiliation must be in Kentucky.

The maximum award will be $75,000. The department encourages applications requesting smaller amounts. Applications should show how the project potentially impacts and produces measurable outcomes for the specialty crop industry and/or the public. Grant funds will not be awarded for projects that solely provide a profit to a single organization, institution, or individual. Matching funds are encouraged but not required.

Applications must be postmarked no later than June 1. The Department plans to announce awards in November.

Kentucky producers took in cash receipts of $72 million from sales of greenhouse and nursery products, $23 million from vegetables and melons, and almost $11 million from fruits, nuts, and berries, including apples and peaches, in 2010, according to the Kentucky office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

For more information on the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, go towww.kyagr.com/marketing/farmmarket/blockgrant.htm or contact Kristen Branscum, executive director of the KDA’s marketing office, at [email protected] or 1-502-564-4983.