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$390,000 in USDA specialty crop grants for Virginia agriculture

Staff writer |
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) is accepting applications for United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service Specialty Crop Block Grant funding.

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Agricultural associations, industry and producer groups, community-based organizations, educational institutions and non-profits that seek to improve the competitiveness of specialty crops in Virginia are eligible to submit proposals for grants up to $60,000 per project.

Individual producers are not eligible for grants. VDACS anticipates administering nearly $390,000 in funds for the development of specialty crops. The deadline for submitting applications is April 14, 2016.

Specialty crops are categorized as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and nursery crops, including floriculture, that are not typically covered by traditional crop insurance.

Specialty crops do not include standard commodities such as corn, wheat, soybeans, peanuts, cotton or tobacco.

Processed foods are eligible, provided their development enhances the competitiveness of specialty crops.

Specialty crop competitive grant proposals must be specific and explain how an association, industry group or organization will use the funds to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Some examples include research, promotion and marketing plans, as well as food safety projects and projects that improve food access.

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