Today’s Topic: Federal grants will support specialty-crop sector

Southern Farm Network logoAgriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

The 2014 farm bill increased funding for the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant Program to $72.5 million, which should lead to an increase in money allocated to North Carolina.

The federal program aims to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in the marketplace. It is funded by USDA, but managed by state agriculture departments. Last year, NCDA&CS was able to award nearly $1.2 million for projects across the state.

The application period in North Carolina is open, and the deadline to apply is May 2. The department will accept grant requests ranging from $20,000 to $200,000 from nonprofit organizations, commodity associations, state and local government agencies, colleges and universities. Grants are not available for projects that directly benefit a single organization, institution or individual.

Projects involving the following specialty crops are eligible: fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, culinary herbs and spices, medicinal plants, as well as nursery, floriculture and horticulture crops. Funding is also available for projects aimed at developing local and regional food systems and improving access to food.

Click here for grant guidelines and an application. If you have questions about this program, contact Jeff Camden at 919-707-3111.

Click on the audio player below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda discuss this grant program.

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Southern Farm Network is a division of Curtis Media Group.

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