The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Specialty Crop Block Grant Program provides funding to state Departments of Agriculture to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. The program is authorized under the Federal Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004, amended under section 10109 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill).
For each fiscal year, each state submits an application to USDA's Agriculture Marketing Service to receive funding, which is based on the proportion of the value of the state's specialty crop production in relation to the national value of specialty crop production.
New York State produces a wide range of specialty crops (fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, herbs, and spices) that rank highly in the nation in terms of both production and economic value.
Specialty crops are incredibly valuable to the state's economy, environment, and quality of life. Locally produced fruits, vegetables, and other edible specialty crops offer the all state residents delicious options for a diverse and nutritious diet. Other New York State agricultural specialty crops, such annuals, flowers, perennials, turf, and other horticultural products are naturally adapted and well suited to local growing conditions.
All New York specialty crops are a great way to reduce our carbon footprint and help keep New York green.
Ineligible crops include livestock and dairy products (including eggs); range grasses, feed crops such as barley, corn, hay, oats, alfalfa, millet, flaxseed; food grains such as rice, rye and wheat; oil crops such as soybean and sunflower; tofu; and marine or freshwater fish/shellfish. Learn more about ineligible crops.
The New York Farm Viability Institute has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the 2020 Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) cycle. Applications are being accepted through February 9, 2020. If you are interested in implementing a project aimed at increasing the profitability of an eligible specialty crop statewide, please visit the links below. Eligible applicants include the following:
- Not-for-profit organizations
- Not-for-profit educational institutions
- Local and Indian tribal governments
Our Department anticipates that the USDA will officially announce New York's share of funding in Fall 2020. Please visit the following links to access the RFP and review additional details regarding the SCBG program.