Up to $400,000 available for CA Specialty Crop Block Grants

The Request for Applications (RFA) for the 2013 Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) Program was issued November 1, 2012.

Concept proposals are due December 7, 2012.

The purpose of the program is to:

  1. Enhance the marketability and competitiveness of specialty crops through the development of markets (local, domestic, and international) for all California producers to leverage the work and commitment of a diversity of stakeholders;
  2. Expand access to healthy, safe California specialty crops at school, at work and in their neighborhoods
  3. Expand stewardship practices, natural resource conservation and the development of ecosystem services to improve the environmental and financial performance of California specialty crop growers
  4. Ensure the viability of California specialty crops by investing in the next generation of operators


Specialty crops are fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture). Visit http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/scbgp for a comprehensive list of specialty crops.

Grant awards ranging from $50,000 to $400,000 for two years, nine months and cannot be expended before October 1, 2013 or after June 30, 2016. Funding is contingent upon passage of the Farm Bill (Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012).

Solicitation Process
California has a two-step process, which is not the case in every state. Applicants first submit a concept proposal; CDFA will then invite selected applicants to submit full proposals based on their review of the concept proposals. Applicants typically have about 30 days to complete a concept proposal and about 45 to complete a full proposal.

For the full RFA, visit http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/Specialty_Crop_Competitiveness_Grants

Although Concept Proposals may address multiple Funding Categories, applicants must select a single category that is the primary focus of their proposal. There is no limit to the number of concept proposals applicants may submit, however each submission must represent a unique project.

Following are a list of Funding Categories areas identified by CDFA, detailed below.

  1. Market Enhancement
  2. Agricultural Education
  3. Nutrition
  4. Environmental Stewardship and Conservation
  5. Plant Health and Invasive Species Impact Mitigation
  6. Food Safety


(1) Market Enhancement
Projects that promote the California Grown message and increase or develop long-term sales and competitiveness of specialty crop products. Examples include:

  • Support statewide market promotion and awareness of specialty crops
  • Support specialty crop marketing concepts that target the unique characteristics of local and regional areas
  • Increase customers and sales of California specialty crops at Certified Farmers’ Markets

(2) Agricultural Education
Projects that improve the public’s knowledge and understanding of specialty crop agriculture and its beneficial importance to the health and well-being of all Californians. Examples include:

  • Strengthen specialty crop agricultural job training skills for beginning farmers
  • Educate consumers about California’s specialty crops
  • Reconnect communities with specialty crop production
  • Educate the public about the identity and threat of invasive species to California specialty crops


(3) Nutrition
Projects that improve access and consumption of specialty crops and/or that integrate human health and nutrition with specialty crops. Examples include:

  • Increase participation in under-utilized federal nutrition assistance programs
  • Develop community and school gardens, urban farms, and other innovative projects that support local and regional food systems
  • Increase consumption of specialty crops among all populations through vigorous marketing, promotion and public/private partnerships
  • Implement school initiatives that link cafeterias, classrooms, gardens, parents, worksites, and communities with local farmers
  • Develop farm-to-fork networks that include schools, worksites, retail, and restaurant outlets to connect local agriculture with nearby communities
  • Promote and/or demonstrate the health benefits of California specialty crops

(4) Environmental Stewardship and Conservation
Projects that enhance soil health and the conservation of agricultural land, water, habitat, and biodiversity as well as proposals that address agriculture’s specialty crop contribution to adaptation and/or mitigation of climate change. Examples include:

  • Integrate resource base issues (i.e. improve both air and water resources)
  • Address regulatory challenges for California’s specialty crop growers
  • Assist communities and/or decision makers in planning for specialty crop agriculture
  • Assist growers “in adapting to” climate change by conducting research and implementation of strategies where technologies are already available – such as water use efficiency and invasive pest detection, control and management
  • Accelerate Best Management Practices (BMP) implementation for water conservation and efficiency


(5) Plant Health and Invasive Species Impact Mitigation
Projects that address pests and diseases that affect the production of California’s specialty crops. This includes applied research related to the probability and impact of invasive pest, disease and weed threats to specialty crops, and research to develop tools to detect, eradicate and control pests and diseases. Examples include:

  • Enhance the speed and reliability of detection
  • Develop new tools for eradication
  • Develop plants resistant to pests and diseases
  • Develop secondary inspection and detection capacity
  • Conduct pest surveys to ascertain threat and spread of threat
  • Develop pest protocol programs for a subsector of specialty crops

(6) Food Safety
CDFA has a partnership agreement with the University of California, Davis’ Center for Produce Safety (CPS). CPS will release a separate food safety proposal solicitation. Please contact CPS at (530) 757-5777 or visit the CPS website at http://cps.ucdavis.edu for the solicitation timeline and proposal requirements.


  • Non Profit Organizations
  • For Profit Organizations
  • Local, State and Federal Governmental Entities
  • Tribal Governments
  • Public and Private Colleges and Universities

Proposals must solely benefit the production of, and access to, California specialty crops. Grant funds will not be awarded for proposals that directly benefit or provide a profit to a single organization, institution, or individual. Cooperatives and for-profit organizations may be awarded SCBG grants with sufficient evidence that the project will benefit the industry.

Match funds are not required, however they are strongly encouraged.

Contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at grants@morrisonco.net or call us at 530-893-4764 for more information on this grant and our grant writing services:

Morrison's historic success rate with grant proposals is approximately 83%. Our capacity is limited and we always have more requests to assist than we can accommodate. If you are interested, please contact us as soon as possible.

About Morrison
Morrison provides business valuations, business planning (including budgeting, cash flow forecasting, strategic planning), feasibility studies, interim executive CFO services, competitive grant writing and is routinely engaged to tackle special projects that don't fit into any conventional category. Morrison specializes in agricultural grants, farm grants, environmental grants and alternative energy grants.


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