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Specialty Crop Block Grant Applications to be Available Online

Thursday, March 26, 2015 | 05:25am

NASHVILLE - The Tennessee Department of Agriculture will soon accept applications for the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. These federal funds are granted to enhance production and competitiveness of specialty crops, including fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, tree nuts, floriculture and other nursery crops. The grants are authorized through the federal Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 and are administered by TDA.

“For experienced producers who want to advance, Specialty Crop Block Grants can take their operations to the next level,” assistant commissioner for Market Development Ed Harlan said. “The projects funded by these grants have the potential to benefit our rural communities and the citizens of Tennessee.”

Applications will only be accepted online beginning April 15. You will find a template and additional information at www.tn.gov/agriculture/marketing/scbg.shtml. The deadline to apply is May 8.

Universities, institutions, cooperatives, producers, and industry or community-based organizations may submit a proposal for funding. The program aims to support projects that directly impact multiple Tennessee producers and will have a positive, long-lasting impact on Tennessee agriculture. All recipients must be recognized by the IRS.

Proposals are reviewed and ranked according to criteria provided on the website. Applicants will be notified by June 12 whether TDA intends to present their projects to the USDA. First-time recipients have a funding limit of $25,000.

If you would like help planning your project, TDA is hosting a workshop April 14 at Ellington Agricultural Center. The workshop runs from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. CDT in the Ed Jones Auditorium. There is no charge to participate and lunch will be provided. Registration is required. Email TN.SCBG@tn.gov and type “RSVP for April 14” in the subject line. Your email should include your name, the name of your business and number of attendees.

For more information regarding the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, email TN.SCBG@tn.gov.

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