Grant Funding for CA Organizations Promoting Specialty Crops

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is accepting applications for Phase I of 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 $50,000 to $100,000. The total estimated funding available for the 2022 SCBGP is $22 million. Applications are due October 8, 2021.

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 and tribal governments 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, 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 2022 SCBGP? CDFA anticipates that up to $22 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 $50,000 to $100,000.

Is there a cost-sharing/match requirement? Cost sharing is not a requirement of the SCBGP, however, it is encouraged and may serve as evidence to demonstrate industry commitment to, or support for, the project.

What is the grant duration? The maximum grant duration is two years, six months (November 1, 2022 – April 30, 2025). Projects submitted to the Additional Assistance program may last up to two years.

What is the award timeline? Applications for Phase I are due on October 8, 2021 by 5 pm PT. Successful Phase I applicants will be invited to submit Phase II grant proposals. CDFA anticipates opening the application period for Phase II in January 2022; Phase II grant proposals will be due on February 14, 2022. Phase II awardees are usually announced in September and their projects begin November 1. 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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