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Grants to Maryland Agencies, Nonprofits, IHEs, and Businesses to Improve the Local Food Industry

Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP)


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA)
Array ( )

Geographic Focus
USA: Maryland

Important Dates
Deadline: 04/06/22 11:50 PM Save

Grant Description
Grants to Maryland government agencies, nonprofit organizations, IHEs, businesses, and producer organizations for projects to improve the local food industry. Funding is intended for projects within the focus areas of research, market enhancement, and food safety. Eligible projects enhance the competitiveness of Maryland grown specialty crops, with priority given to projects that have the potential to provide solutions that lead to measurable benefits to the specialty crop industry in the state.

The purpose of the Maryland Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) is to enhance the competitiveness of Maryland specialty crops including fruits and vegetables, culinary herbs and spices, honey, hops, grapes, maple syrup, Christmas trees, and nursery crops. 

Funding Priorities

Grant applications that focus on one of the areas below will be given priority based on the 2020 Maryland Specialty Crop Block Grant survey.

  • Food Safety Compliance: Proposed projects should meet specialty crop buyer requirements for mitigating food safety risks.
  • Market Enhancement: Proposed projects should increase sales product and market share of Maryland specialty crops by leveraging the Maryland's Best brand through cooperative promotion and partnerships for restaurants, grocery stores, institutions, and other businesses.
  • Research: Proposed projects should improve the competitiveness of Maryland specialty crops through research projects such as pest control and disease, soil quality, water efficiency, cleaning\sanitation, water quality for crops or pre\post-harvest handling, manure or composting as it relates to Food Safety Modernization Act. Research applicants are encouraged to seek at least 5% of the total budget from Maryland specialty crop producers or industry. Research applicants must demonstrate an outreach component to the specified industry impacted by the project.

Eligible applicants may wish to consider submitting grants as it relates to the funding priorities that increase the competitiveness of specialty crop producers which may include beginning farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers, or veteran farmers.

Specialty crops are defined in law as “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops, including floriculture.” The USDA maintains a more comprehensive list of eligible specialty crops on its website at

For information about eligible expenses, see:


  • Others (see text field entitled "Additional Eligibility Criteria" for clarification)

Additional Eligibility Criteria
Proposals will be accepted from non-profit organizations, producer organizations, government agencies, universities, and other organizations involved in Maryland agriculture. Applicants must reside in Maryland or their business or educational affiliation must be in Maryland. Those applicants that are non-profit or for-profit, if awarded a grant, will be required to provide verification of their status. Applicants may cooperate with any public or private organization.

Applicants must have the support of a specific specialty crop organization or group with at least three specialty crop producers. Proposals submitted by individual producers must demonstrate that the potential impact of the project will be for a broader group of similar producers or industry segment. Projects must also be identified as a priority of the industry.

Grant funds will not be awarded for projects that only benefit or provide profit to a single organization, business, institution or individual.

The USDA maintains a list of ineligible crops on its website. See

For ineligible expenses, see:

Pre-Application Information
Application Due Date: 11:59 p.m., April 6, 2022

- RFP is released: March 2022
- Applications due to MDA: April 6, 2022
- Applications scored and selected by review committee: April 2022
- State application submitted to USDA: May 3, 2022
- Announce and Award Funding: Fall 2022
- Project start date: November 2022
- All projects conclude no later than: November 30, 2024

More than one project application per applicant may be submitted. Projects may be submitted by a single organization or combined entities. Multi-state projects to address a growing need for solutions to problems that cross state boundaries are also eligible. Contact the SCBGP Program Manager for additional application instructions.

Applicants must have a valid DUNS number and be registered with

Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their applications with the funding source at the contact information listed below.

Additional information:

Additional Funding Information

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant
Competitive grants will be awarded for projects with a minimum of $15,000. The Maryland SCBGP grants have ranged from $15,000 - $140,000.

Term of Contract
SCBGP grant funds will be awarded for projects up to 2 years in duration and must conclude by November 30, 2024.

Contact Information
Applications must be emailed to:

Direct questions to the email address above or to 410-841-5773.

Maryland Dept. of Agriculture
50 Harry S. Truman Parkway
Annapolis, MD 21401

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