The Missouri Department of Agriculture is now accepting proposals for funding to increase the production, processing and or distribution of Missouri’s specialty crops through grants from the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. The Department anticipates receiving several thousand dollars in grant funding for fiscal year 2014 from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in Missouri.
"Specialty crop grants provide assistance to Missouri producers in reaching their goals and paving their way to increased opportunities in agriculture,” said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler. “We continue to look for every opportunity to support our state's agricultural producers and assist them in building their operations. This funding is one more way to reduce some of the financial hurdles of bringing these products to market and help farmers grow their businesses.”
Specialty crops are defined by the USDA as fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, maple syrup, honey, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. The Department’s goal is to use the grant program to expand local, regional and international markets and distribution channels for specialty crops, as well as for education, marketing and infrastructure development.
Concept paper applications for the 2014 fiscal year must be submitted to the Department no later than March 29, 2013. The concept papers will be evaluated and applicants will be invited to submit detailed grant proposals in April. Those proposals must be submitted to the Department no later than May 13. A list of previously funded projects is available on the Department’s website.
Applications are available online, or by contacting the Department’s Agriculture Business Development Division at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the Missouri Department of Agriculture and its programs, visit the Department online at mda.mo.gov.