The Nebraska Department of Agriculture says that NDA is seeking grant proposals from organizations or groups of individuals interested in enhancing the competitiveness of the state's specialty crop industry. Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).
"Each year the specialty crop industry continues to grow in Nebraska," says Greg Ibach, NDA director. "We encourage those involved in specialty crops to look into the opportunities available to them through this grant program."
NDA is requesting grant proposals as part of its effort to develop a state plan for the USDA's Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, created by Congress in 2004. For the 2011 funding cycle, NDA has the opportunity to receive specialty crop grant funds, but must submit a state plan detailing how the funds will be used. Grant funds will be subject to the availability of federal funding.
NDA will administer a two-phase competitive grant application process to determine what projects are to be included in the state plan. Phase one will involve the submission of concept proposals. The proposals will allow the applicants to explain the main points of their project. The concept proposals will be competitively ranked and scored, with the top proposals asked to complete the second phase of the application process. Those proposals that are selected for the state plan will also be reviewed by USDA.
Concept proposals are due to NDA by April 15.
According to USDA guidelines, eligible projects must solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, and may focus on: research, education, consumption, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, plant pest and disease control, organic and sustainable production practices, among other opportunities.
Proposals must show the project will benefit the specialty crop industry or a segment of the industry as a whole; proposals that will profitably benefit one organization or individual will not be accepted.
Grant proposal guidelines and application information are available through NDA by calling 800-422-6692, or e-mailing [email protected].