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Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBG)

Grants to Ohio Nonprofits, Commodity
Groups, and IHEs to Promote State Agriculture

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA)

Deadline Date:

04/30/20 5:00 PM EST


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Grants to Ohio nonprofit organizations, universities, research institutions, cooperatives, and commodity groups to enhance the competitiveness of the State's agricultural products. Funding is intended to advance the long-term economic viability and marketability of specialty crops. Specialty crops are identified as fruits, vegetables, dried fruit, honey, maple syrup, tree nuts and nursery crops (including floriculture).

Priority is given to projects that demonstrate profit potential for growers and that could boost employment opportunities in the specialty crop industry. Applicants are encouraged to coordinate efforts of similar projects; however, unique projects will be considered.

Grant projects may focus on, but are not restricted to these areas:

  • Water Quality 
  • Support for Ohio’s bee industry 
  • Third-party audit education for buyers (retailer industry) of Ohio’s specialty crops 
  • Development of season extension and sales opportunities 
  • Provide improvements in the aggregation and distribution of specialty crops 
  • Develop value-added products using Ohio specialty crops (All projects seeking assistance to develop a value-added venture must submit complete financial statements and a completed feasibility study.) 
  • Support for efforts to reduce or mitigate risk for specialty crop producers 
  • Diversification and expansion of production and processing 
  • Implement programs or projects that provide outreach and education on the importance of the industry with regards to Ohio’s economy, food safety or the nutrition and health benefits of specialty crops. 
  • Provide technical and direct support to beginning producers 
  • Assist specialty crop producers in cooperative marketing efforts 
  • Enhancing food safety and related areas 
  • Initiatives to assist Ohio’s nursery industry 
  • Increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops
  • Building infrastructure to support alternative direct markets to consumers that protect public health
  • Leveraging investment of previously awarded grants to take project to the next level

Aquaponics is allowable as long as the crops that are being grown are eligible specialty crops and the focus of the project is on the specialty crop and not the fish.

  • A project to determine whether carp, catfish or tilapia are best for growing lettuce is acceptable. 
  • A project to study whether lettuce or tomato produced the highest yield of tilapia is not acceptable. 
  • A project farm fish using an aquaponics system and then sell the fish is not acceptable. 
  • A project to grow specialty crops where both the specialty crops and the fish are sold is not acceptable.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 154678

Estimated Size of Grant:

$25,000 - $150,000

Term of Contract:

- Project start: November 1, 2020
- Project end date: September 29, 2022
- Latest project end date upon approved extension request: September 29, 2023

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The Ohio Department of Agriculture will only accept proposals for consideration for specialty crop block grant funds from food and agricultural non-profit organizations, cooperatives, associations or commodity groups, universities and research institutions that represent specific specialty crop sectors.

Individuals and partnerships may participate in this grant program by developing and submitting proposals, through an eligible applicant.

Projects that have a focus on the benefit a particular commercial product, or provide a profit to a single organization, institution, or individual will not be considered.

Grant funds cannot be used for coupon/incentive redemptions or price discounts. Costs associated with printing distribution, or promotion of coupons/tokens or price discounts (i.e., a print advertisement that contains a clip-out coupon) are allowable only if they solely promote the specialty crop rather than promote or benefit a program or single organization.

Grant funds cannot be used for costs associated with the used of trade shows, meeting rooms, displays, demonstrations, exhibits, and the rental space for activities that do not solely promote specialty crops.

-Private individuals and companies.
-Employees of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, members of his or her immediate family, or business partners of the aforementioned.
-Members of the review committee if they are the applicant or have a financial obligation to project.

Pre-Application Information:

- RFP Released: March 20, 2020
- Applications due: April 30, 2020, 5:00 PM EST
- SCBG Committee review and selection: Tentative, May 11, 2020
- ODA submits state plan to USDA for approval: May 2020
- USDA approval (anticipated): September 2020
- ODA issues approval letters and initiates contracting: October 2020
- Project work can begin (anticipated): November 1, 2020
- Project end date: September 29, 2022
- Latest project end date upon approved extension request: September 29, 2023

Applicants must have a valid DUNS number prior to applying.

Specialty crops:

Contact Information:

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

Submit applications to Ashley McDonald at or

Ohio Department of Agriculture
8995 East Main Street
Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Ohio

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