Deadline nearing for specialty crop grant applications

BISMARCK – The application deadline for the 2013 Specialty Crop Grants is less than two weeks away.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided North Dakota with about $480 thousand to promote the production, processing and use of specialty crops,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said. “Individuals, organizations and institutions are invited to submit proposals, either on their own or in partnerships, for grants of up to $100,000.”

The funding from USDA's Agriculture Marketing Service can only be used for projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops or benefit a specialty crop industry as a whole.

Specialty crops are defined as “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.” Specialty crops now grown commercially in North Dakota include dry beans, dry peas, lentils, potatoes, grapes, honey and various vegetables.

Goehring said an information manual with application instructions, scoring criteria and an application template can be found on NDDA's website, www.nd.gov/ndda/program/specialty-crop-block-grant-program.

The website also includes a survey for applicants to provide their opinion on the funding priorities for the program.

Applications must be submitted in electronic form by 4 p.m. CST, May 24, 2013. USDA will  award the grants in late fall/early winter. Funded projects must be completed within 18 months.

Goehring said persons needing more information should contact Emily Edlund at (701) 328-2191 or Edlund@nd.gov.