Proposals for 2022 specialty crop projects due Jan. 31

Proposals for 2022 specialty crop projects due Jan. 31
The Schwarzes, from left, Linda, Becky, Tom and Alex, have grown hemp since 2020, the first year Nebraska issued licenses to growers and processors. Their main farming business near Smithfield is growing certified organic corn, soybeans, alfalfa, field peas and cane. (Photo by Lori Potter, Flatwater Free Press)
January 13th, 2022 | Nebraska Department of Agriculture

Nebraska agriculture is known for its traditional crops like corn and soybeans, but the state’s diverse landscape also supports specialty crops like dry edible beans, potatoes and wine grapes. To strengthen the specialty crop industry in the state, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) is seeking proposals for innovative research, development and marketing projects through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP).

The program is administered by NDA and funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The deadline for submitting SCBGP proposals is Jan. 31, 2022.

“Specialty crops add value and variety to Nebraska agriculture, keeping our ag industry strong,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “New this year to our Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is an online application process designed to streamline grant applications, save time, and more effectively manage the entire grant cycle. This process will help people in the specialty crop industry focus on innovative ways to grow Nebraska through agriculture.”

For the 2022 SCBG program, NDA anticipates approximately $820,000 will be available to fund new projects. Producers, organizations and associations, as well as state and local agencies, educational groups and other specialty crops stakeholders are eligible to apply. Last fall, several organizations in Nebraska received more than $1.9 million in USDA grants including pandemic relief funds.

AmpliFund is the new grant application software that NDA is using. Arecorded webinar training is available on NDA’s website at https://nda.nebraska.gov/promotion/scbgp/index.html along with proposal instructions, grant performance measures and program guidelines. 

As in years past, this year’s proposals will be reviewed and scored using select criteria and the AmpliFund software. Applicants who make it through the first round will be asked to submit additional information. NDA and USDA will announce the projects receiving funding in the fall.

To view a comprehensive list of eligible specialty crops and examples of projects funded, visit USDA’s website at https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/scbgp. For additional information, contact SCBG Program Manager Casey Foster at 402-471-4876, or by email at casey.foster@nebraska.gov.

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