Second Specialty Crop Block Grant Request for Applications Announced
July 9, 2021
The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's (DACF) Bureau of Agriculture seeks Specialty Crop Block Grants (SCBG) program applications from Maine's specialty crop industry to present for funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This is the second Request for Applications (RFA) this year, made possible due to the provision of H.R. 133 (the Consolidated Appropriations Act) Stimulus Funding by the USDA.
The SCBG program is specifically designed to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops, including floriculture.
Funds will be awarded through a competitive review process. Grant awards will be for a one-year term. The H.R. 133 funding is anticipated for 2021 only.
Priority areas: Each SCBG RFA includes priority areas. Proposals that directly align with one or more priority area received additional points in the scoring process and are more likely to receive a grant award. The priority areas for the H.R. 133 SCBG RFA are:
- Projects that make certain facility adjustments (Rearrangement and Conversion Costs) to protect employees and the public from potential COVID-19 exposure.
- Projects that implement market adaptation related to COVID-19 and that benefit a variety of businesses.
- Projects that market Maine specialty crops to diversified and expanded markets, or that research potential market expansion efforts and strategies. (Examples include but are not limited to increasing sales to institutions, and other target markets that are new or have potential for growth in sales of Maine agricultural products.)
Agricultural organizations, educational institutions, commodity groups, municipalities, producers, and state agencies may download the 2021 SCBG application by searching under DACF online on the DAFS Procurement Services website. The application deadline is August 17, 2021.
Maine's 2020 SCBG awards supported numerous projects, including expanding Maine's berry industry to improve farm profitability, integrated pest management for Maine's $500 million potato industry, using foliar fertilizers and soil amendments to enhance wild blueberry production and resilience, and others.
Please consult the RFA for more information. Questions may be submitted to SpecialtyCropBlockGrant@Maine.gov; responses will be published on August 6, 2021.