The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) today announced new opportunities for Michigan businesses through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Ag Marketing Services. The grant funding is contingent on the availability of funds from USDA and Michigan’s allocation has been established at $1.88 million.
The program is designed to enhance the competitiveness of Michigan’s specialty crops. Grant proposals must be received by MDARD no later than 3 p.m. on March 31, 2016 by submitting them to MDA-grants@Michigan.gov.
“This grant program provides a unique opportunity for our state’s specialty crop producers to enhance their profitability by expanding their domestic and international markets,” said Jamie Clover Adams, MDARD Director. “These federal grants help provide additional consumer access to Michigan specialty crops, improve the quality and availability of these products, and help ensure our specialty crop industry remains competitive.”
The grants, with a maximum award of $100,000, enhance the competitiveness of the state’s specialty crops, including, but not limited to: research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, plant health programs, education, increased knowledge and consumption, increased innovation, improved efficiency and reduced costs of distribution systems, environmental concerns and conservation, product development, good agricultural practices, good handling practices, and good manufacturing practices.
Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations, local, state, and federal government entities and for-profit organizations. The organizations must be legal entities recognized by the IRS, and applicants must reside and/or conduct their business or organization in Michigan. Applications should demonstrate how the project will potentially produce measurable impacts for the specialty crop industry as a whole; and not-for-benefit to a specific product, single organization, institution, or individual.