Ge­or­gia Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture an­nounces Spe­cialty Crop Block Grant Pro­gram for 2016

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - From Staff Re­ports

The Ge­or­gia Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture ( GDA) is pleased to an­nounce the com­pet­i­tive so­lic­i­ta­tion process to award the 2016 Spe­cialty Crop Block Grant.

The Spe­cialty Crop Block Grant Pro­gram (SCBGP) funds projects that “en­hance the com­pet­i­tive­ness of spe­cialty crops.” Spe­cialty crops are de­fined as: fruits, veg­eta­bles, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticultu­re, Christ­mas trees, tur­f­grass/sod, nurs­ery and green­house crops, in­clud­ing flori­cul­ture. Please see the spe­cific list­ing of all el­i­gi­ble crops at www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/scbgp.

The United States Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture ( USDA), Agri­cul­tural Mar­ket­ing Ser­vice (AMS) will make grant fund­ing avail­able, with Ge­or­gia’s share be­ing ap­prox­i­mately $1 mil­lion this year.

“The goal of this grant pro­gram is to help fund projects that can pro­duce the high­est de­gree of mea­sur­able ben­e­fits to Ge­or­gia’s spe­cialty crop pro­duc­ers, in re­la­tion to each dol­lar spent,” said Agri­cul­ture Com­mis­sioner Gary W. Black. “We en­cour­age or­ga­ni­za­tions such as IRS- des­ig­nated non­prof­its, com­mod­ity com­mis­sions, as­so­ci­a­tions, state and lo­cal govern­ment en­ti­ties and col­leges and univer­si­ties to con­sider ap­ply­ing.”

Note that USDAAMS rules state that grant funds will NOT be awarded for projects that solely ben­e­fit a par­tic­u­lar com­mer­cial prod­uct or pro­vide a profit to a sin­gle or­ga­ni­za­tion, in­sti­tu­tion, or in­di­vid­ual. Sin­gle or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­sti­tu­tions, and in­di­vid­u­als are en­cour­aged to par­tic­i­pate as pro­ject part­ners with el­i­gi­ble en­ti­ties.

“The process is slightly dif­fer­ent this year in that we will take Con­cept Pro­pos­als for re­view. By March 4th, those who have the strong­est Con­cept Pro­pos­als will be in­vited to sub­mit a full ap­pli­ca­tion. Once fi­nal­ized, each ap­pli­ca­tion will be care­fully re­viewed and eval­u­ated by a Re­view Com­mit­tee some­time in June,” said Jeanne Maxwell, di­rec­tor of grants for GDA. “Then, all Depart­ment-ap­proved projects will be com­bined and writ­ten as one grant sub­mis­sion to the USDA/AMS. Upon ap­proval from USDA, we will no­tify ap­pli­cants of their sta­tus, which we ex­pect to be in Septem­ber 2016.”

Please re­fer to the links avail­able on the GDA grants web­page lo­cated at www.agr.ge­or­gia.gov/grants.aspx for the Con­cept Pro­posal/ pre- ap­pli­ca­tion form and ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion. For ad­di­tional ques­tions please con­tact Jen Erdmann at [email protected]­or­gia.gov or 404-586-1151.

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