BISMARCK – Applications are now being accepted for funds to promote the production, processing and use of specialty crops in the North Dakota.
“North Dakota will receive a $526,675 block grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Agriculture Marketing Service (USDA-AMS) for specialty crop development,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “The North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) will distribute these funds through a competitive grant program.”
Goehring said the 2009 federal grant is more than five times greater than previous specialty crop grants.
Specialty crops are defined in law as “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.” Specialty crops now grown commercially in North Dakota include dry beans, dry peas, lentils, potatoes, grapes, honey and various vegetables.
“The stated purpose of the federal grant is to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops,” Goehring said. “This includes research, promotion, marketing, trade enhancement, education, product development and more.”
Goehring said NDDA has prepared a detailed manual containing program information, application instructions, scoring criteria for applications received and an application template. The manual can be found on NDDA’s website, www.agdepartment.com (click on “Specialty crop grant 2009”).
“Organizations that have applied for these grants in the past will find that the application process is much more thorough and requires much more information, due to new USDA requirements,” Goehring said. “Successful applicants will also find that more monitoring and reporting are required.”
Applications must be submitted in both electronic and written forms. The deadline for applications is July 15, 2009. The applications will be reviewed and scored by NDDA personnel, and will then be forwarded to USDA for final approval. The grants will be awarded in October-November of 2009. Funded projects must be completed by Dec. 31, 2010.
The maximum grant amount is $100,000.
Goehring said persons needing more information should contact Chuck Fleming at NDDA Marketing Services (701) 328-4759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.