Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets Announces Grant Funds to 

Enhance the Competitiveness of Vermont Specialty Crops

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) announces the availability of grant funds for the purpose of enhancing the competitiveness of Vermont specialty crops, defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture crops (including honey, hops, and maple syrup), and nursery crops (including Christmas trees and floriculture). These funds are awarded through a competitive review process guided by industry, nonprofit and government stakeholders. Prospective applicants may download the Vermont Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) Request for Proposals on the Agency’s website at here.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) awards Specialty Crop Block Grants to the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories. In Vermont, the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets administers these funds to enhance the competitiveness of Vermont specialty crops. VAAFM plans to award approximately $200,000 in Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) funds in 2017. Visit here for more information about the SCBGP.

VAAFM strongly encourages projects proposing innovative partnerships and, in collaboration with statewide specialty crop industry stakeholders, has identified the following funding priorities (eligible project types) for 2017:

  • Development of innovative horticultural production practices to enhance farm viability (including improved efficiency, production, or human resources management) and/or natural resource conservation
  • Pest and disease management
  • Food safety—including the handling, preparation, transport, and storage of specialty crops in ways that reduce foodborne illness
  • Value chain enhancement—including strengthening relationships between individuals, businesses, and organizations that build specialty crop value from production to consumption
  • Market access (local, regional, national, or international), marketing, branding, and consumer education
  • Producer collaboration—including establishing or strengthening producer associations and cooperatives

VAAFM will conduct a webinar to provide an overview of the program, the 2017 application process—including USDA standards for outcome measures—and VAAFM’s online grants management system. Interested parties may register for the webinar here.

Applicants to the Vermont SCBGP must submit a letter of intent by March 15, 2017. A review committee will invite the top-ranking projects to submit full proposals, which will be due by May 12, 2017.

For more information about Vermont Agency of Agriculture grants, visit our Funding Opportunities & Resources for Businesses page here.