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Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCGP)

Grants to Colorado Organizations and Agricultural
Stakeholders to Enhance Markets for Specialty Crops

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Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA)

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Grants to Colorado producer organizations, associations, groups, members of academia, local or state organizations, and other agricultural stakeholders to enhance the market competitiveness of specialty crops. Concept papers are due February 1. Projects may involve promotion, marketing, education, research, trade, and nutrition.

For the purposes of this program, specialty crops are defined as
-Fruits and vegetables,
-Tree nuts,
-Dried fruits, and
-Nursery crops (including floriculture and sod).

Crops excluded from the program as defined by USDA's AMS include: hemp, marijuana, cotton, cottonseed, feed crops (such as barley, corn, hay, oats, sorghum grain, and millet), flaxseed, food grains (such as quinoa, rice, rye, and wheat), livestock and dairy products (including eggs), marine aquaculture, oil crops (such as peanut, soybean, sunflower, safflower, rapeseed, canola, and mustard seed), peanuts, range grasses, sugar beets, sugarcane, and tobacco.

Examples of acceptable projects
-A State requests funding to contract with a university to conduct research on the feasibility of planting, cultivating, and growing a specialty crop in a particular area, the results of which will be shared with many growers throughout the State during the project.
-A single grower requests funds to demonstrate the viability of organic small fruit production and partners with Extension to publicize the working model of diversification to other regional growers.
-A single company requests funds to provide a viable pollination alternative to specialty crop stakeholders in a region that currently does not have one.
-A single nonprofit organization requests funds to conduct an advertising campaign that will benefit their specialty crop members.
-A single farmer erects high tunnels on his/her property to extend the growing season of tomatoes and lettuce and conducts a field day and farm tour to encourage other small family farmers to adopt the production method.

Project Priorities:

Funding from the SCBGP affords Colorado's specialty crops stakeholders an unprecedented opportunity to undertake new initiatives including, but not limited to:
-Enhancing food safety;
-Investing in specialty crop research, including research to focus on conservation and environmental outcomes;
-Developing adaptation and mitigation strategies for farmers in drought-stricken regions of the country;
-Supporting the growth of organic specialty crops;
-Developing new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops;
-Pest and disease control;
-Increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops;
-Increasing opportunities for new and beginning farmers;
-Improving efficiency and reducing costs of distribution systems;
-Protecting and improving pollinator health;
-Developing local and regional food systems; and
-Improving food access in underserved communities and among veterans.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 180142

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Term of Contract:

Grant funds for the 2018 program may not be expended before January 1, 2019 of after November 15, 2020.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Producer groups, organizations, and associations, as well as state and/or local organizations, academia and other specialty crops stakeholders are eligible to apply, either as single entities or in combined efforts.

Although proposals submitted by individual producers are allowed, they must demonstrate that the potential impact of the project will accrue to a broader group of similar producers, region or industry segment. Projects may not solely benefit individuals. All projects must solely enhance the competitiveness of Colorado specialty crops.

Example of unacceptable projects
-A company requests grant funds to purchase starter plants or equipment used to plant, cultivate, and grow a specialty crop for the purpose of making a profit, or to expand production of a single business.
-A State requests grant funds to make grants to individual specialty crop businesses or roadside stands to promote their individual business.
-A non-profit organization uses grant funds to purchase produce and then sells that produce to other entities at cost or a higher price than the purchase price while competing with other private companies who sell produce in the area,
-A sole proprietor requests grant funds to redesign her/his logo in order to make her/his specialty crop value-added product stand out at the local farmers’ market.
-A single specialty crop organization requests grant funds to market its organization so that it can increase membership in the organization.

Grant Restrictions and Limitations
-For a complete list of allowable and unallowable costs and activities, visit the list from USDA at
-Funds may not be utilized for paying down current debt, general administrative expenses (such as rent, phone, copiers, legal, etc.), or for indirect institutional overhead costs.
-Funds may not be utilized for capital expenditures for general purpose equipment, buildings and land. Similarly, funds may not be utilized for purchasing equipment, and construction/building costs. General purpose equipment means equipment, which is not limited to research, medical, scientific or other technical activities. Equipment means an article of nonexpendable, tangible personal property having a useful life of more than one year with a unit cost of $5,000 or more.
-Capital expenditures for special purpose equipment are allowable as direct costs provided that that the items with a unit cost of $5,000 or more are to be used to solely benefit the competitiveness of specialty crops. Special purpose equipment means equipment that is used only for research, scientific, or other technical activities.
-Funds may not be used for development or participation in lobbying activities pursuant to 31 U.S. Code 1352.
-Funds may not be used to fund political activities pursuant to 5 U.S. Code 1501-1508.
-All proposals and reports submitted to the Department are subject to the Colorado Open Records Law.
-A complete list of terms and conditions from USDA is available on the Colorado Specialty Crops Web page.

Pre-Application Information:

A matching contribution of cash and/or in-kind resources equal to at least 25 percent of the total project budget is required. Preference will be given to proposals that demonstrate applicant commitment to the project in terms of cash contribution and that maximize the leveraging of funds.

The application period for the Specialty Crop Block Grant is open. There is a two-step application process. A concept paper is required for the first round. Proposals advancing after the first round will be part of Colorado’s submission to USDA for 2018 and will need to complete a full proposal package.

Concept papers will be due on February 1, 2018, 5:00 PM.

Prospective grantees whose concept papers are selected to advance as part of the state package will be informed on or about March 13. Full proposals will be due from those grantees on April 13.

-Request for concept proposals: December 2017
-Concept proposals due: February 1, 2018, 5:00 PM MT
-Invitation to submit grant proposals: On or about March 13, 2018
-Grant proposals due: April 13, 2018
-Grant proposals sent to USDA for approval: June 2018
-Announcement of award funding: October 2018
-Contracting with CDA: October 2018 - January 2019
-Project start: January 1, 2019 or when contract executed
-Project end date: No later than November 15, 2020

More information about eligible specialty crops may be found here:

Contact Information:

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

Glenda Mostek, Marketing Specialist
(303) 869-9173

Colorado Department of Agriculture
305 Interlocken Parkway
Broomfield, CO 80021

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Colorado