Specialty Crop Multi-State Grant Program

Specialty Crop Multi-State Grant Program

The Specialty Crop Multi-State Program (SCMP) is a new federal grant program offered by USDA’S Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). The SCMP competitively funds projects to solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops through collaborative, multi-state projects that address regional or national-level specialty crop issues, including food safety; plant pests and disease; research;crop-specific projects addressing common issues; and marketing and promotion.

Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, and nursery crops (including floriculture). Additional examples of specialty crops include Christmas trees, culinary herbs and spices, honey, hops, and maple syrup. For specific crop eligibility, visit What is a Specialty Crop?

How does the program work?

Multi-state partners must submit proposals to a Participating State department of agriculture to be considered for funding. Participating State departments of agriculture are the only entities that can apply directly to AMS for SCMP funds.

Participating States will accept proposals from multi-state partners; applicants must follow application requirements outlined in the 2015 SCMP Request for Applications

AMS will evaluate all submitted proposals and make final funding decisions. Participating States will then assume administrative responsibility for any funded proposals. As the official award recipients, Participating States will establish subgrant agreements with multi-state partners to complete funded projects. Participating States do not determine which projects are funded or assist multi-state partners in proposal development.   

Multi-state partners should select a Participating State  and contact them to receive updates on the SCMP application process. Multi-state partners must select only one participating State department of agriculture to work with. Multiple submissions of the same application are not allowed.

Proposal Deadline

There are two proposal deadlines.  Applications are due to the Participating State department of agriculture by December 15, 2015.  The deadline for Participating State departments of agriculture to submit applications to AMS is January 14, 2016. Contact Karen Fedor at Karen.fedor@maryland.gov or 410-841-5773 for more information. 

How much funding is available?  

AMS will award approximately $3 million in this round, and proposals can request between $250,000 and $1,000,000.

Project Eligibility

The following types of projects are eligible. Review the 2015 SCMP Request for Applications for details.

  • Food safety
  • Plant pests and disease
  • Research
  • Crop-specific projects addressing common issues
  • Marketing and promotion

AMS will give priority to proposals where the main project activities fall under the following project types:

  • Food safety
  • Plant pests and disease
  • Research

How do multi-state partners apply?

  1. Review the 2015 SCMP Request for Applications in its entirety.
  2. Choose a start date for your project in calendar year 2016.
  3. Because this is a new program, AMS does not yet have a target date for announcing SCMP awards.
  4. A no-cost time extension will be available to any funded project that was delayed because of seasonal issues.
  5. Select a Participating State to receive your proposal. If your proposal is funded, this is the state that will administer your subgrant agreement, disburse funds, and manage project reporting.
  6. Submit your proposal to the Participating State by the deadline (to be determined soon).

Once your proposal is under consideration for funding, you will work with the Participating State during the budget negotiation phase to allocate the award’s indirect costs (also known as administration costs), which may be used to reimburse the Participating State for the costs of administering your project. Indirect costs are capped at 8% of the total award. For example, for a $250,000 project, 8% or $20,000 may be allocated for indirect costs, leaving $230,000 for direct cost activities.

 

Definitions

Multi-State Partners

The multi-state organizational team that submits a SCMP proposal to develop solutions for problems that cross state boundaries and address the needs of specialty crop growers. The team must involve at least two partners located in different states. A Participating State department of agriculture which will provide only administrative support for the project does not count as a project partner.  Acceptable partnerships can include:

  • A national level organization and a State department of agriculture
  • State level organizations from two different States
  • Tribes
  • Land grant or State universitys or colleges
  • Specialty crop producer organizations
  • Non-profit organizations

Participating State Departments of Agriculture

The Maryland Department of Agriculture will serve as a Participating State for the SCMP. Participating State departments (or agencies) of agriculture are the only entities that can apply directly to AMS for SCMP funds. Participating States accept proposals from multi-state partners, screen proposals to ensure they meet eligibility requirements, and submit all eligible proposals to AMS.

Multi-state partners must submit proposals to a Participating State department of agriculture to be considered for funding. Participating States cannot assist interested multi-state partners in developing proposals or provide feedback to improve their proposals and are not responsible for finding proposal partners.

Specialty Crops

Specialty crops ardefined“fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).” Additional examples of specialty crops include Christmas trees, culinary herbs and spices, honey, hops, and maple syrup. Eligible processed products must consist of greater than 50% of the specialty crop by weight, exclusive of added water. For specific crop eligibility, visit What is a Specialty Crop?