Ag department announces specialty-crop grantsWisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Protection (DATCP) announced Jan. 19, it is accepting applications for funds available through the 2012 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.
Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Protection (DATCP) announced Jan. 19, it is accepting applications for funds available through the 2012 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.
A news release from DATCP quotes one if its grant specialists, Juli Speck, as she defines the purpose of the grants: “DATCP is seeking applicants that will enhance the competitiveness of Wisconsin’s specialty crop industries in domestic and foreign markets. Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funds are to be used to benefit the specialty crop industry as a whole and not provide direct profit to a specific organization, institution or individual.”
DATCP encourages nonprofit and producer organizations, government agencies, universities and various agricultural groups to apply for the funds. The agency defines specialty crops as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops including floriculture, as well as culinary herbs and spices and medicinal plants.
Anyone interested in the grants will find at the DATCP’s web site a full listing of “common plants” associated with each crop category. The dozens of examples include everything from almonds, strawberries and beans to ginseng, Christmas trees and deciduous shade trees.
The release explains that the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 -- the Farm Bill -- authorized the grants to states through 2012. The department listed the types of projects that would take priority:
- Specialty crop research, especially environmental sustainability, pest and disease control and varietal improvement.
- Development of “best industry practices” for agriculture, handling and manufacturing.
- Innovation in production, processing and packaging.
- Education to increase the consumption of Wisconsin specialty crops.
“The larger the impact of the project, the more likely it will be funded through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program,” said Speck. “Applicants may submit more than one project application, and applications that build on a previously funded project are also welcome.”
The news release says Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funds will be distributed through a competitive review process. Selected applications will be included into one Wisconsin state plan and submitted to the USDA for final approval.
In anticipation of receiving funds, projects would be approved and could start in fall 2012. Applications are due to DATCP by 4:30 p.m. on April 2, 2012. Optional grant writing workshops for potential applicants are planned for February and March 2012.
Visit the DATCP online to get more information about eligibility requirements and application materials:
Generally, the application requires a cover sheet, project abstract, project purpose, potential impact, expected outcome, work plan, budget, project oversight and project commitment.
People can connect with DATCP on Twitter at twitter.com/widatcp or Facebook at facebook.com/widatcp. Speck may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-224-5134.