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2021 USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Grants to New York Nonprofits, Agencies, and Schools
to Advance the Marketability of Eligible Produce

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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New York State and NY Farm Viability Institute (NYFVI)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

02/28/21 11:59 PM


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Grants to New York nonprofit organizations, local government agencies, educational institutions, and tribes for programs that advance the marketability of eligible agricultural products across the State. Funding is intended to support programs focusing on research and education. Eligible projects emphasize areas such as industrial innovations, enhanced marketing practices and operations, and development of human capital that improve the specialty crop industry.

The New York Farm Viability Institute promotes practical solutions to challenges facing New York’s farmers. New York’s specialty crop agricultural and food systems industry is a valuable component of New York State’s economy, the environment, residents’ health, and quality of life. The purpose of New York’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is to enhance the competitiveness of New York specialty crops by creating partnerships; fostering innovation; increasing efficiencies and reducing costs; and enhancing the long-term viability of New York’s specialty crop agricultural businesses and food systems. 

For the purpose of this RFP, “specialty crops” means fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and nursery crops (including floriculture). For a detailed list of eligible specialty crops, see

NYFVI is soliciting proposals that solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops and benefit the greatest number of beneficiaries. The New York Specialty Crop Block Grant Advisory Committee, composed of farmer members of specialty crop organizations and associations, and other industry stakeholders, recommended a focus on specialty crop research and grower education. The following priority areas were identified by the Advisory Committee.

Specialty Crop Research and Grower Education

Examples of research and grower education projects include, but are not limited to:

  • Research and/or education that address a key conventional or organic production problem or need specific to New York State.
  • Developing and increasing the utilization of Integrated Pest Management strategies and programs.
  • Prioritizing and addressing native and exotic pests and disease threats through development of pest risk assessments.
  • Supporting plant breeding for the development of specialty crops resistant to exotic and native pests.
  • Applied research and development to extend the growing season of New York specialty crops through new technologies, improved management practices, or other innovative production strategies.
  • Developing new seed varieties and specialty crops with optimal performance under New York State conditions.

Priority Areas:

  •  Improvement of individual specialty crop operations 
  •  Industry-wide innovation 
  •  Early development of new ideas and methods 
  •  Improved marketing practices and market access 
  •  Development of human capital

Farmers will implement the projects and the planned measurement of progress.

For eligible costs, see

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 142773

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Funding requests for individual projects must be between $50,000 and $100,000.

Term of Contract:

Projects must be completed within 2 years from the award date. Projects must start after October 1, 2021, and all projects must be completed by December 31, 2023.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants include:

- Not-for-profit organizations (NFP)
- Not-for-profit educational institutions
- Local and Indian tribal governments

NYFVI strongly encourages collaborative efforts between NFPs, educational institutions, government applicants, and private for-profits in order to achieve the goals and objectives of this program. For-profits are not eligible applicants; however, for-profits may partner with not-for-profits provided that the NFP is the lead applicant.

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.

For ineligible costs, see

For a list of ineligible commodities, see

Pre-proposal Conference:

Two grantwriting webinars will be held. Registration is available online via the portal (see Contact Information below for the online portal). All registrants will receive the log-in information for the webinar 24 hours before it occurs. Slides will be posted following the second webinar.

- Monday, January 25, 2021, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
- Tuesday, January 26, 2021, 9:00 am – 10:30 am

Pre-Application Information:

Key Dates:
- Sunday, February 28, 2021 – Applications due by 11:59 p.m.
- May 20210 – Successful applicants contacted.
- October 2021 – Anticipated Grant Awards Announcement by USDA (projects must not begin prior to award announcement.)
- December 31, 2023 – All projects must be completed before this date

All applications must be submitted online via NYFVI’s system. Please note that, when first using the online application system, you must apply for system credentials. Staff will then activate your username and password. Keep this in mind when applying, as staff processing of credentials can take several days.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact the NYFVI Grant Coordinator or Executive Director with any questions. All questions and their answers will be posted on the website. All applicants will be notified if a new question and answer has been posted.

About Specialty Crops:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Online application portal:

Questions about the Specialty Crop RFP or application must be submitted via email to the Grants Coordinator, Kathryn Evans at

159 Dwight Park Circle #104
Syracuse, NY 13209
(315) 453-3823

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: New York City;   New York

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