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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 24, 2012

DDA to award over $244,000 in competitive specialty crop block grant funding
Grant workshop scheduled for March 14th at 4 p.m. at DDA; Filing deadline is May 11th

Contact:   Jo-Ann Walston
    (302) 698-4592 (business phone)
    (800) 282-8685 (DE only)
    Delaware Department of Agriculture
Marketing Specialist
2320 S. DuPont Highway, Dover, DE 19901

  DOVER (Feb. 24, 2012) – The Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) will award over $244,000 as part of its Specialty Crop Block Grant Program to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in Delaware. Agricultural producers, non-profit organizations, government entities, businesses, and universities within Delaware can apply for grants from $5,000 to $40,000. The submission deadline is May 11, 2012, at 4:30 p.m.


“The specialty block grant program is a unique opportunity to find innovative ways to promote and advance an important part of Delaware’s $8 billion agricultural industry: our state’s specialty crop producers,” said Jo-Ann Walston, Marketing Specialist with the Delaware Department of Agriculture. “Because the grants are awarded competitively, we can leverage available funds to target the most successful projects.”

Funded by the 2008 Farm Bill, the block grant program seeks projects that offer the highest degree of measurable benefits to Delaware’s specialty crop producers. Proposals should promote or enhance the production of, and access to, Delaware specialty crops. Additionally, projects that highlight collaboration between different groups and organizations will be favorably considered. An industry-based review team will rank all applications for final approval by the Delaware Secretary of Agriculture. All applicants must reside, or their business or educational affiliation must be, in Delaware.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture). Eligible plants must be intensively cultivated and used by people for food, medicinal purposes, and/or aesthetic gratification to be considered specialty crops.

Applicants are encouraged to download a 2012 Request for Proposal (RFP) application packet from the Delaware Department of Agriculture website (dda.delaware.gov) under the heading “Hot Topics.”

A workshop on Delaware’s specialty crop grant program will be held on Wednesday, March 14, 2012, at 4 p.m. at the Delaware Department of Agriculture Administration Building, 2320 S. DuPont Highway, Dover, Delaware.

Examples of potential funding requests can include projects that:

  • Increase child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops
  • Improve efficiency and reduce costs of distribution systems
  • Assist entities in the specialty crop distribution chain to develop
    • “Good Agricultural Practices,”
    • “Good Handling Practices,”
    • “Good Manufacturing Practices,”
    • and in cost-share arrangements for funding audits of such systems for small farmers, packers and processors
  • Invest in specialty crop research, including research on conservation and environmental outcomes
  • Enhance food safety
  • Develop new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops
  • Control pests and diseases
  • Develop organic and sustainable production practices

  For more information or to request an RFP packet, please contact Jo-Ann Walston at the Delaware Department of Agriculture - Phone: (302) 698-4592 (office) or E-mail: JoAnn.Walston@state.de.us.

Press release in PDF: DDA to award over $244,000 in competitive specialty crop block grant funding

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Business Phone: (302) 698-4520
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Last Updated: Monday, 02-Feb-2015 10:54:28 EST
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