CDFA Seeking Public Comments on 2021 California Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Priorities

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is seeking public comments on the 2021 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) which is anticipated to open for applications in September 2020. On August 17, 2020, CDFA opened a two-week window for public comments to help determine the priority funding areas for the 2021 program. CDFA is proposing changes to the priorities to respond to challenges related to COVID-19 and address issues of farmer equity.

What is the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP)?

The SCBGP funds projects that enhance the competitiveness of California specialty crops. The program is designed to support all sectors of California's specialty crop industry and improve the performance of California specialty crops within local, domestic, national, and international markets. For the 2020 program, approximately $22 million was available for awards with funding levels ranging between $50,000 and $450,000 for a maximum project duration of two years and six months.

What is a “specialty crop?”

Specialty crops are defined as “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).” Check here for USDA's complete list.

Who may apply for funding under this program?

Eligible applicants include non-profit and for-profit organizations; local, state, and Federal government entities, tribal governments; and, public or private colleges and universities. Individual farmers and ranchers are not eligible to apply. Projects that only benefit one company are also not eligible to apply.

What are eligible projects and what can grant funds be spent on?

SCBGP projects can focus on the marketing and promotion of specialty crops, education and training of current and next generation specialty crop farmers, and research projects in relation to environmental stewardship, 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. You can find additional detail on eligible projects and costs in the 2020 Request for Concept Proposals.

How can I share my insight?

CDFA requests your feedback in identifying the most relevant priorities for the California specialty crop industry. You may share your opinions via email at grants@cdfa.ca.gov until 5:00 p.m. on August 31, 2020. You may also participate in the public listening sessions listed below. The input received at these listening sessions will be published on the CDFA SCBGP website. All emailed and in-person feedback will be considered as the SCBGP determines the final 2021 priorities.

Listening Session Schedule

Webinar 1 – August 20, 2020 – 1:00-3:00 pm PDT

Webinar 2 – August 26, 2020 10:00 am – 12:00 noon PDT

To register for the listening sessions, email grants@cdfa.ca.gov.

Is the SCBGP grant an option for me?

If you are interested in seeking funding through this program, please contact Managing Principal Toni Scott at tscott@morrisonco.net or via phone at 530-809-4672. Morrison will begin accepting clients ahead of the September 2020 opening of the application period, which is typically only 30 days. Morrison has extensive experience writing successful applications for clients through this program.

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