Specialty Crop Multi-State Program

Contents

News

  • USDA has announced the deadline for multi-state partners to submit proposals for the 2015 Specialty Crop Multi-State Program (SCMP). Proposals are due via email to Participating State departments of agriculture by December 15, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time. Read the USDA press release here
  • USDA has also published Instructions for Preparing and Submitting SCMP Applications as well as additional Guidance for Food Safety Projects
  • Have Questions? Check out the SCMP Frequently Asked Questions. Answers to the these questions were provided by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and edited by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets for brevity and clarity.

About the Specialty Crop Multi-State Program

The Specialty Crop Multi-State Program (SCMP) is a new federal grant program offered by USDA’S Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). The SCMP competitively funds projects to solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops through collaborative, multi-state projects that address regional or national-level specialty crop issues, including food safety; plant pests and disease; research; crop-specific projects addressing common issues; and marketing and promotion.

Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, and nursery crops (including floriculture). Additional examples of specialty crops include Christmas trees, culinary herbs and spices, honey, hops, and maple syrup. For specific crop eligibility, visit What is a Specialty Crop?

How does the program work?

Multi-state partners must submit proposals to a Participating State department of agriculture to be considered for funding. Participating State departments of agriculture are the only entities that can apply directly to AMS for SCMP funds.

Participating States will accept proposals from multi-state partners; screen proposals to ensure they are complete and meet the basic requirements outlined in the 2015 SCMP Request for Applications; and submit all eligible proposals to AMS.

AMS will evaluate all submitted proposals and make final funding decisions. Participating States will then assume administrative responsibility for any funded proposals. As the official award recipients, Participating States will establish subgrant agreements with multi-state partners to complete funded projects. Participating States do not determine which projects are funded or assist multi-state partners in proposal development.   

Multi-state partners should select a Participating State soon and contact them to receive updates on the SCMP application process. Multi-state partners must select only one participating State department of agriculture to work with. Multiple submissions of the same application are not allowed.

Proposal Deadline

The deadline for multi-state partners to submit proposals to Participating State departments of agriculture is December 15, 2015 at 11:59 PM Eastern time. Participating States will submit all eligible proposals to AMS by January 14, 2016. 

How much funding is available?  

AMS will award approximately $3 million in this round, and proposals can request between $250,000 and $1,000,000.

Project Eligibility

The following types of projects are eligible. Review the 2015 SCMP Request for Applications for details.

  • Food safety
  • Plant pests and disease
  • Research
  • Crop-specific projects addressing common issues
  • Marketing and promotion

AMS will give priority to proposals where the main project activities fall under the following project types:

  • Food safety
  • Plant pests and disease
  • Research

How do multi-state partners apply?

  1. Review the 2015 SCMP Request for Applications and Instructions for Preparing and Submitting SCMP Projects in its entirety. If your project focuses on food safety, review Food Safety Projects under the 2015 Specialty Crop Multi-State Program as well. 
  2. Choose a start date for your project in the summer or fall of 2016.
    • Because this is a new program, AMS does not yet have a target date for announcing SCMP awards.
    • A no-cost time extension will be available to any funded project that was delayed due to seasonality.
  3. Select a Participating State to receive your proposal. If your proposal is funded, this is the state that will administer your subgrant agreement, disburse funds, and manage project reporting.
  4. Submit your proposal to the Participating State by December 15, 2015 at 11:59 PM.

Once your proposal is under consideration for funding, you will work with the Participating State during the budget negotiation phase to allocate the award’s indirect costs (also known as administration costs), which may be used to reimburse the Participating State for the costs of administering your project. Indirect costs are capped at 8% of the total award. For example, for a $250,000 project, 8% or $20,000 may be allocated for indirect costs, leaving $230,000 for direct cost activities.

Award Process


 

Definitions

Indirect Costs

Indirect costs, also known as administration costs, are any costs that are incurred for common or joint objectives and cannot be readily identified with an individual project, program, or organizational activity. They generally include facilities operation and maintenance costs, depreciation, and administrative expenses. Indirect costs requested by multi-state partners, plus indirect administration costs requested by the Participating State, may not exceed 8% of the total cost of the project.

Multi-State Partners

The multi-state organizational team that submits a SCMP proposal to develop solutions for problems that cross state boundaries and address the needs of specialty crop growers. The team must involve at least two partners located in different states. A Participating State department or agency of agriculture which will provide only administrative support for the project does not count as a project partner.

Participating State Departments of Agriculture

Participating State departments (or agencies) of agriculture are the only entities that can apply directly to AMS for SCMP funds. Participating States accept proposals from multi-state partners, screen proposals to ensure they meet eligibility requirements, and submit all eligible proposals to AMS. Multi-state partners must submit proposals to a Participating State department of agriculture to be considered for funding. Participating States cannot assist interested multi-state partners in developing proposals or provide feedback to improve their proposals and are not responsible for finding proposal partners.

Specialty Crops

U.S. statute[1] defines specialty crops as “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).” Additional examples of specialty crops include Christmas trees, culinary herbs and spices, honey, hops, and maple syrup. Eligible processed products must consist of greater than 50% of the specialty crop by weight, exclusive of added water. For specific crop eligibility, visit What is a Specialty Crop?

 

Contact

Kristina Sweet
Senior Agriculture Development Coordinator
(802) 522-7811
kristina.sweet@vermont.gov

 

[1] Section 101 of the Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004 (7 U.S.C. 1621 note) and amended under section 10010 of the Agricultural Act of 2014, Public Law 113-79 (the Farm Bill)