The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) is now accepting proposals for project ideas as part of US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) for 2019. Approximately $1.5 million is expected to be available to agriculture industry associations, producer groups, processors, commodity commissions, non-profits, for profits, and local government agencies in Oregon. Funding for Oregon’s program is contingent upon federal funding for the SCBGP.
Specialty crops are defined as commonly recognized fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops. Oregon ranks in the top ten nationwide in production of specialty crops. For the 2019 SCBGP Request for Proposals, ODA has a single-phase process known as the Grant Proposal Application. ODA is requesting 15-page grant proposals from applicants describing their proposed projects. Proposals should be submitted online and must be received by Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019 at 12 noon Pacific Standard Time. ODA will offer online training to provide applicants with an in-depth look at the program and explain the grant writing process step-by-step. Details, including time and date for the online training will be posted on ODA’s website.
Based on a survey of specialty crop producers, associations, commissions, and other stakeholders to determine priority needs, the following 2019 SCBGP funding priorities have been identified. ODA included two additional priorities; cross commodity collaboration and addressing regulatory burden.
- Market Development and Access for international, regional, domestic, and local/farm direct markets
- Food safety compliance and traceability
- Cross commodity collaboration
- Addressing regulatory burden
- On-farm labor needs, workforce programs or tools
- Productivity enhancements, innovation, value added products
- Agriculture and food-related priorities identified by Oregon Solutions Network Regional Solutions Centers
Projects not addressing one of the identified priorities are still eligible for funding, as long as they meet all other program requirements. See details of the funding priorities.
In March 2019, an industry advisory committee will evaluate proposals and make recommendations to ODA Director Alexis Taylor on the selection of the top ranked applicants. Selected applicants will be submitted to USDA in the Oregon State Plan Application. Projects chosen to receive funding will be announced by November 2019.
ODA and the advisory committee are looking for innovative 2 and a half year proposals with a suggested funding range of $25,000 to $175,000, and encourage interested parties to work regionally to submit collaborative project proposals that benefit Oregon growers and processors as well as partners in other states that share common specialty crops. Those who have received specialty crop grant funds in the past are also encouraged to apply, whether they are interested in building on an existing project or if they are proposing a new project.
Match funding is not a requirement of this program however applicants are highly encouraged to provide some level of match to show the importance and value of the project and to show sustainability beyond SCBGP funds. ODA staff are available to provide applicants directions on submitting grant proposal applications and other information is available on their site or by contacting ODA’s Market Access and Certification Program at (503) 986-6473.