VAAFM To Award $200K in Specialty Crop Grants

15 January 2019
various crop food on table at farmer's market

Agency to Award Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Funds

$200K Available in 2019

January 15, 2019 / Montpelier VT - The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) welcomes applications for the 2019 Vermont Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.  This funding opportunity will provide awards for projects that strengthen Vermont specialty crop industries.  Awarded projects will enhance the competitiveness of Vermont specialty crops defined as: fruits and tree nuts; vegetables; culinary herbs, spices, medicinal plants; nursery, floriculture, horticulture, Christmas trees; honey, hops, maple syrup; and mushrooms.

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 2019. Visit www.ams.usda.gov/scbgp for more information about the SCBGP.

“This program has a track record of helping Vermont’s farmers and researchers get to the next level. The Specialty Crop dollars promote innovation, on-farm research, and market opportunities to our farmers, producer associations and universities,” said Secretary Anson Tebbetts. 

These funds are awarded through a competitive review process guided by industry, nonprofit, and government stakeholders. Prospective applicants may learn more and download the Vermont Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) Request for Proposals on the Agency’s website: www.agriculture.vermont.gov/grants/specialtycrop .

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 2019:

  • Development of innovative horticultural production practices to enhance farm viability and/or natural resource conservation
  • Pest and disease management
  • Enhancing food safety and improving the capacity of specialty crop businesses to comply with Food Safety Modernization Act or food safety audit program requirements 
  • Value chain enhancement—including strengthening relationships between producers, aggregators, processers, distributors, retail businesses and consumers—and technical assistance to enhance efficiency and business viability
  • Market access (local, regional, national, or international), marketing, branding, and consumer education
  • Producer collaboration—including establishing or strengthening producer associations and cooperatives, farm succession planning, and labor challenges

VAAFM will conduct a webinar to provide an overview of the program, the 2019 application process— including USDA standards for outcome measures—and VAAFM’s online grants management system. Interested parties may register for the webinar at www.bit.ly/scbgpwebinar19  .

Applicants to the Vermont SCBGP must submit a Letter of Intent by February 25, 2019. A review committee will invite the top-ranking projects to submit full proposals, which will be due in March 2019.  Awards are not meant to solely benefit individual businesses or organizations. 

For questions regarding this grant opportunity, please contact:

Kathryn Donovan

AGR.SpecialtyCrops@vermont.gov

(802) 585-4571

For more information about Vermont Agency of Agriculture grants, visit the Funding Opportunities page at www.agriculture.vermont.gov/grants  .

Contact Information

Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

116 State Street
Montpelier, Vt 05620-2901
802.828.2430

Program Contacts

  • Media Inquiries                      802.622.4662
  • Licensing & Registration        802.828.2436
  • Business Development          802.828.1619
  • Feed, Seed, Fertilizer & Lime  802.828.2431
  • Working Lands                    802.622.4477
  • Public Health & Resource Management                802.828.2431
  • Laboratory               802.522.3502
  • Animal Health                        802.828.2421
  • Dairy                              802.828.2433
  • Consumer Protection / Weights & Measures                            802.828.2433
  • Meat Inspection                    802.828.2426
  • Water Quality                               802.828.2431
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    • Enforcement                                802.828.2431
    • Reports                                      802.272.0323
    • BMP's                                      802.828.3474
  • Act 250                          802.828.2431 
  • Pesticide                        802.828.2431