Grant Funding for California Specialty Crops in 2024

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is accepting Concept Proposals for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) with funding levels ranging from $100,000 to $500,000; projects submitted to the Additional Assistance for Historically Underrepresented Organizations (Additional Assistance) program range from $100,000 to $250,000. Separate of the competitive process, CDFA may award up to $3 Million for proposals that address urgent or critical issues affecting California specialty crop agriculture. The total estimated funding available for the 2023 SCBGP is $23 million. Funding is contingent on the passage of a Farm Bill. Applications are due September 7, 2023.

Each year CDFA conducts a two-phase competitive solicitation process to award funds to projects that enhance the competitiveness of California specialty crops. The SCBGP is designed to support all sectors of California’s specialty crop industry and improve the performance of California specialty crops within local, domestic, and international markets. Specialty crops include fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).

This program is for projects in the state of California. However, other state departments of agriculture also administer specialty crop block grant programs. To find out if your state has a program click here.

Who is eligible to apply for the SCBGP? Eligible applicants include: non-profit and for-profit organizations; local, state, and federal government entities, including tribal governments; and public or private colleges and universities. Individuals are not eligible to apply.

For the Additional Assistance program, only non-profits, tribal governments, and K-12 school districts that have not previously received SCBGP funding, do not have technical expertise with grant writing, and who work directly in either supporting socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers or providing nutrition education and/or access to specialty crops in underserved communities are eligible to apply for SCBGP funding.

What projects are eligible for this program? SCBGP projects can focus on the marketing and promotion of specialty crops, improving access to and consumption of California specialty crops, education and training of current and next generation specialty crop farmers, and research projects in relation to environmental stewardship, conservation, plant health, and pest management for specialty crops. In general, organizations can spend grant funds on personnel costs, promotional campaign costs, and costs for educational trainings and events, among other costs.

What are the funding levels for the 2024 SCBGP? CDFA anticipates that up to $23 million will be awarded with grant amounts ranging from $100,000 to $500,000 per project. Projects submitted to the Additional Assistance program range from $100,000 to $250,000.

Is there a cost-sharing/match requirement? Cost sharing is not a requirement of the SCBGP, and does not impact whether projects will be awarded funding.

What is the grant duration? The maximum grant duration is two years, eight months (November 1, 2024 – June 30, 2027). This is also true for projects submitted to the Additional Assistance program.

What is the award timeline? Applications for Phase I are due on September 7, 2023 by 5 p.m. PT. Successful Phase I applicants will be invited to submit Phase II grant proposals. CDFA anticipates opening the application period for Phase II in December 2023; Phase II grant proposals will be due January 2024. Phase II awardees will be announced in Fall 2024 and their projects begin November 1, 2024. There is no limit on the amount of Phase I proposals applicants may submit, however, each concept proposal should be for a wholly unique project.

The full Request for Concept Proposals can be found here.

Morrison has extensive experience writing successful applications for clients for this program. For more information on this grant or how to apply with Morrison’s assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at or call us at 530-893-4764.


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