The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) is seeking proposals for the Specialty Crops Block Grant Program. Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops (including floriculture).
"This is a great opportunity for Utah industrial organizations and their producers," said Jed Christenson, UDAF's Director of Marketing. "This grant will help Utah's specialty crop industry expand to better meet the increasing demand for fresh fruits and vegetables and other specialty crops by consumers along the Wasatch Front."
The specialty crop grant stems from the Farm Bill which authorizes the U. S. Department of Agriculture to partner with state departments of agriculture to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crop producers in areas such as marketing, promotion, education, research, trade, and increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops.
"UDAF must submit an application that includes possible projects from Utah to USDA by August 2009 in order to receive those funds," continued Christenson. "We are asking for project proposals to be submitted by July 17, so we can meet USDA's deadlines." Utah anticipates receiving more than $200,000 to be awarded to those individuals and entities that submit successful proposals.
Individual producers, producer groups, organizations, and associations, as well as state and local organizations, academia and other specialty crops stakeholders are eligible to apply either as single entities or in combined efforts. Proposals submitted by individual producers must demonstrate that the potential impact of the project will accrue to a broader group of similar producers, region or industry segment.