Specialty Crop Block Grant Funding
The purpose of the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) is to solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. USDA defines specialty crops as “fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).” Enhancing competitiveness may include developing local and rural food systems and improving food access in underserved communities.
The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) is part of the Farm Bill. It’s administered across the nation by state departments of agriculture. In New Mexico, applicants submit proposals for the federal funding through NMDA. Successful applicants execute the work plan and all other aspects of the grant proposal. This is while NMDA monitors progress and acts as the fiscal agent.
Grant funds will not be awarded to projects that solely benefit a particular commercial product. It will not benefit products that provide a profit to a single organization, institution, or individual. Grant funds cannot be put toward capital expenditures (equipment, buildings, land). They also may not be used to make improvements to capital assets that materially increase their value or useful life. Each project funded through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program will be carried out over a one- to three-year time-frame.
For more information on this grant program, read the brochure here.
Agricultural Development and Promotion Funds Program (formerly known as the New Mexico Specialty Crops Program)
Funding through the Agricultural Development and Promotion Funds Program is made possible every year. This is due to the New Mexico Specialty Crops Act of 1983. (The program was once referred to as “the New Mexico Specialty Crops Program”. However, it was later changed to avoid confusion with the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.)
That act was created “to facilitate the production and market development of high-value agricultural products”. That means agricultural companies may apply for the funds for many purposes. Marketing, production demonstration and promotional activities; market potential surveys; are also qualified. Specialty crop production demonstrations; facilitation of the development of marketing facilities; also qualify. Finally, participation in national and international trade shows; and administrative costs are also may apply too.
Applications are reviewed by a panel of experts in the agricultural industry and in business. Successful applicants must conduct their grant-funded project entirely within the same fiscal year (July 1-June 30) for which funds were awarded.
Download the application here: Download Template.
Federal State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP)
Funds will support research projects that help market, transport, and distribute American agricultural products domestically and internationally. Federal funds awarded must be matched by nonfederal funds or in-kind resources. “This program aims to help address various barriers that can keep agricultural products from getting to market,” said Felicia Frost. Frost is the marketing specialist who administers FSMIP for NMDA. Categories eligible for FSMIP funding include livestock, livestock products, food and feed crops. Fish and shellfish, horticulture, viticulture, apiary, forest products, and processed or manufactured products derived from such commodities also qualify. Proposals may involve small-, medium , or large-scale agricultural entities. However, proprietary proposals that benefit only one business or individual will not be considered.
A few of New Mexico’s previously funded FSMIP projects include:
• Increase access to markets for New Mexico cattle and beef through research and dissemination
• Developing a value-added beef branding program in the state
• Enhancing regional marketing efforts for the state’s red and green chile
NMDA monitors the progress and serves as the fiscal agent on FSMIP projects. Application deadlines are contingent upon the availability and release of FSMIP funding. For more information on FSMIP, visit www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/FSMIP. Potential applicants may contact Felicia C. Frost at (575) 646-4929.