Lincoln – Grant proposals are now being accepted by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) for its 2016 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP). The program is designed to help develop and promote specialty crops such as potatoes, dry edible beans, fruits, vegetables, tree nuts and nursery crops through research, marketing and education programs. The deadline for submitting proposals to NDA is April 1, 2016, at 5 p.m.
“We have seen many successes in the specialty crop sector in recent years as a result of this program,” NDA Director Greg Ibach said. “It has been especially pleasing that the approved grants have included proposals submitted by individuals and organizations from many areas of the state. I encourage interested parties to continue to submit innovative projects and ideas to our office for review.”
NDA administers the state’s SCBG program, which is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). For the 2016 SCBG program, NDA anticipates approximately $620,000 will be available to fund new projects. Producers, organizations and associations, as well as state and local agencies, educational groups and other specialty crops stakeholders are eligible to apply.
The proposals are the first stage of a two-stage process. They will be reviewed and scored using select criteria. Those who make it through the first stage will be asked to submit additional information. In October, NDA and USDA will announce the projects that will receive funding.
Ibach said 13 specialty crop projects were funded last fall through the program for a total of $588,900. Among projects approved in 2015 were promotion and development of farm-to-school programs, research on best production practices and health benefits of pinto and Great Northern beans, winter greenhouse production of medicinal herbs and increasing production of hops in Nebraska.
The USDA has a few new requirements for this year. Instructions for submitting a proposal, proposal applications, performance measures and program guidelines are available on NDA’s website at http://www.nda.nebraska.gov/promotion/scbgp/index.html. All proposals must be saved as a Microsoft Word .docx file and sent electronically to email@example.com by the April 1 deadline. For questions, contact: Casey Foster at (402) 471-4876, or by the email listed above.
To view a comprehensive list of eligible specialty crops and examples of projects under the SCBGP, visit the USDA’s website at http://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/scbgp.