Goehring announces availability of specialty crop grants


 BISMARCK – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has announced that applications are now being accepted for 2017 Specialty Crop Grants.

Projects that solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in North Dakota are eligible for these grants," Goehring said. "We encourage organizations, institutions and individuals to submit proposals on their own or in partnerships."

North Dakota has not yet received an allocation amount from USDA's Agriculture Marketing Service but is expected to receive it in March 2017 (updated 3/2/17 - the allocation is $2.4 million dollars). The North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) will distribute the funds through a competitive grant program.

Eligible applications include developing new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops; pest and disease control; and investing in specialty crop research, including research to focus on conservation and environmental outcomes. Projects that directly benefit specific, commercial products or profit a single organization, institution or individual are not eligible.

The USDA defines specialty crops as “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops.” Specialty crops grown commercially in North Dakota include dry beans, dry peas, lentils, potatoes, confection sunflowers, 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.

Applications must be submitted in electronic form by 4 p.m. CDT Thursday, April 20, 2017. An external review committee will review and score the applications. The successful applications will be forwarded to the USDA for final approval. The grants will be awarded in late fall/early winter.

Projects funded by the grants start October 1, 2017 and must be completed by September 30, 2019.

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