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Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBG)

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

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA)

Deadline Date:

04/15/21 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).

Higher rankings will be 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 
  • 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, particularly in the areas of climate and weather extremes, crop disease, pest control and/or labor
  • 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 
  • Developing new and improved specialty crops through seed varieties, cultivars, cuttings, etc.
  • Increasing child and/or adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops
  • Building infrastructure to support alternative direct markets to consumers that protect public health
  • Addressing COVID-19 impact on specialty crop industry

Aquaponics is allowable if 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:

Grants range from a minimum of $25,000 to a maximum of $150,000.

Term of Contract:

- Project work can begin (anticipated): November 2021
- Project end date: September 2023
- Latest project end date upon approved extension request: September 2024

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.

The following projects do not qualify for funds under the SCBG:

- Advertising and public relations costs used to solely promote the image of an organization, general logo, or general brand, rather than specialty crops is unallowable. For examples, see page 4 of the RFP in Supporting Documents, below.

- 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 use of trade shows, meeting rooms, displays, demonstrations, exhibits, and the rental space for activities that do not solely promote specialty crops.

Ineligible applicants:
- 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 1, 2021
- Applications due: April 15, 2021, 5:00 PM EST
- SCBG Committee review and selection: May 3, 2021 (Tentative)
- ODA submits state plan to USDA for approval: May 2021 (Date to be released by USDA)
- USDA approval (anticipated): September 2021
- ODA issues approval letters to successful applicants and initiates contracting: October 2021
- Project work can begin (anticipated): November 2021
- Project end date: September 2023
- Latest project end date upon approved extension request: September 2024

Each applicant must obtain a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number which is a nine-digit number established and assigned by Dun and Bradstreet, Inc. (D&B) to uniquely identify business entities. A DUNS number may be obtained from D&B by clicking here:

All applicants must provide matching funds of a minimum of 25% of the requested grant amount. This match can be a cash or in-kind contribution.

All proposals must include three (not more than three) letters of support for the project from industry members that confirm a need for this project. The letters must be received with the original grant application.

Please note payments for this grant are strictly provided as a reimbursement of expense incurred.

If you were not able to attend the February 25, 2021 SCBG Stakeholder Meeting, the PowerPoint can be found in Supporting Documents, below.

USDA specialty crop list:

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

For more information on Ohio’s 2021 Specialty Crop Block Grant application process contact Ashley McDonald at 614-728-6202 or the above email addresses.

Ohio Department of Agriculture
8995 East Main Street
Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068
Phone: 614-728-6206
Fax: 614-466-7754

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Ohio

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