Farm Briefs

April 14, 2013

Farm briefs: April 14, 2013

Applications being accepted for crop funding

ALBANY —The state Department of Agriculture and Markets is accepting applications for U.S.D.A. Specialty Crop Block Grant funds, according to Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine.

Agricultural associations, industry groups, community-based organizations and producer groups seeking to improve the competitiveness of specialty crops in New York are eligible to submit proposals for grants from $30,000 to $100,000 per project.

“New York has an abundance of specialty crops that are extremely important to our state’s agricultural economy,” Aubertine said. “Specialty crops help New York agriculture maintain its diversity and also help attract new farmers into the mix every year. This funding will assist with cutting-edge research to expand opportunities within emerging agricultural fields, fight diseases and keep New York agriculture strong.”

In December 2012, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced $1 million in federal funding under the Specialty Crop Block Grant program to support the research, development and promotion of specialty crops including fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops. The funding also included $200,000 to help support the growth of the state’s wine, beer, and spirits industry, an emerging and growing specialty crop sector in New York State.

In awarding the funds, the department will give priority to grant proposals with the purpose of enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops and ones that benefit the greatest number of beneficiaries as they pertain to research and grower education, marketing and promotion and food safety.

A detailed list of commonly recognized specialty crops is provided in the Request for Proposal (RFP) and on U.S.D.A.’s website. The grant funding is contingent on the availability of funds from U.S.D.A. and New York’s allocation has yet to be determined. Applications must be received by the department by 4:30 pm, May 9.

Although individual producers are not eligible, they may join with groups and organizations to apply for these grants.

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