Grants open for research, education, & marketing projects

The United States Department of Agriculture and California Department of Agriculture are both accepting applications right now for grant programs that will fund projects for research, education, and marketing and promotion. These programs include:

California Specialty Crop Block Grant Program – Due November 15

The California Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is currently accepting applications for projects that enhance the competiveness of California specialty crops. Applicants can be for-profit organizations, non-profit organizations, universities, and local, state and federal government entities. Projects cannot benefit a single organization or individual.

Grant awards range from $50,000 to $450,000; matching funds are not required but are encouraged. The anticipated start date for projects is November 1, 2017, with projects lasting up to two years and nine months.

Eligible projects include marketing and promotional projects; training and education projects; and research projects around environmental stewardship and conservation and plant health and pest management.

Fixed amount awards up to $150,000 are also available under this program for projects that provide technical assistance for workforce issues, including conforming to labor regulations, securing skilled and unskilled workers, and training existing workforce to effectively utilize new technologies.

The program is two-phased; the concept phase is due November 15, 2016. If invited to a full phase, applications for the second phase would be due February 28.


USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Grant Program – Due December 8

The United States Department of Agriculture is currently accepting applications for their Beginning Farmer and Rancher Grant program, which supports the delivery of education, mentoring, and technical assistance programs to help beginning farmers and ranchers.

Grant awards range from $200,000 per year for up to three years for large standard grants; $100,000 per year for up to three years for small standard grants. A match of at least 25% is required.

Eligible projects include projects that seek to educate beginning farmers and ranchers on A. Basic livestock, forest management, and crop farming practices; B. Innovative farm, ranch, and private, nonindustrial forest land transfer strategies; C. Entrepreneurship and business training; D. Financial and risk management training (including the acquisition and management of agricultural credit); E. Natural resource management and planning; F. Diversification and marketing strategies; G. Curriculum development; H. Mentoring, apprenticeships, and internships; I. Resources and referral; J. Farm financial benchmarking; K. Assisting beginning farmers or ranchers in acquiring land from retiring farmers and ranchers; L. Agricultural rehabilitation and vocational training for veterans; M. Farm safety and awareness; and N. Other similar subject areas of use to beginning farmers or ranchers.

The application is due December 8, 2016.


USDA Specialty Crop Research InitiativeDue November 15

The United States Department of Agriculture is currently accepting applications through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, which seeks to solve critical United States specialty crop issues, priorities, or problems through the integration of research and extension activities that use systems-based, trans-disciplinary approaches.

Grant awards are available both for research projects, as well as strategic planning projects to support the development of future research projects. Grant awards for research projects range from $1-$2 million per year for up to four years, depending on the project. Planning projects are typically one year and cannot exceed $50,000 per year; these projects can fund grant writing and planning. A 1:1 cash or in-kind match is generally required, depending on the applicant type.

Eligible applicants include federal agencies, national laboratories, colleges and universities, research institutions and organizations, private organizations or corporations, State Agricultural Experiment Stations, Cooperative Extension Services, individuals, or groups consisting of two or more of these entities.

The application is two-phased, with the concept phase due November 15, 2016. If invited to a full phase, applications for the second phase would be due early next year.



Given the timing of these grant programs, and overlapping deadlines, we have constrained capacity to assist clients in all programs.

If you are interested in discussing any of these opportunities further, or are interested in engaging Morrison to assist you in your grant writing needs, please contact the Morrison Grant Team by email at or call us at 530-893-4764. We are currently working with clients on a first-come, first-serve basis.


We’ve worked with a wide variety of clients on a broad range of projects and are happy to discuss solutions that can best fit your needs.

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