Funds Available for Michigan Specialty Crops

The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) is accepting applications for the 2021 Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) program with applications due February 25, 2021 at 3pm EST.

The MDARD SCBG Program awards funds to projects to enhance the competitiveness of Michigan specialty crops, which include fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).

The funds can be used for projects involved in promotion, marketing, research, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, plant health programs, education, increased child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption, increased innovation, improved efficiency and reduced costs of distribution systems, environmental concerns and conservation, product development, good agricultural practices, good handling practices, and good manufacturing practices.

Who is eligible to apply for the SCBG?

Eligible entities include non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations, local, state, and federal government entities, including tribal governments. If you are a university applying for funding, your proposal must be submitted by the commodity group or other eligible organization for which the work is being performed. The budget should reflect that the work by the university is contractual with the commodity group.

What projects are eligible for this program?

Applications must address the following funding priorities:

  • Market Enhancement to promote specialty crops
    • Market Expansion, Availability, and Access to Specialty Crops
    • Farm to Institution
  • Research and Development relevant to specialty crops
    • Plant Health & Pest Management
    • Farm Sustainability
  • Training & Education addressing local, regional, and national challenges confronting specialty crop producers
    • Enhancing Food Safety
    • Environmental Sustainability
    • Workforce/Labor

Examples of acceptable projects include:

  • 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 Cooperative Extension to publicize the working model of diversification to other regional growers.
  • A single non-profit 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 methods.

What are the funding levels for the 2021 SCBG?

The maximum award amount is $100,000 for research proposals and $125,000 for marketing, training and education proposals per proposal.

Is there a cost-sharing/match requirement?

A cost-share/match requirement is not specified in the overview.

What is the grant duration?

The grant period will be approximates October 1, 2021 through September 30, 2023. Projects must be completed within two years after project is given its initiation date. The MDARD must be notified at least 60 days prior to the end date of the project if for any reason the project cannot be completed within the two-year period established in the grant agreement.

What is the award timeline? Recommendation of proposals to be awarded will be determined in approximately May/June 2021 and all applicants will be notified.

The full grant overview can be found here.

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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