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2019 USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Grants to New York Nonprofit Organizations to
Strengthen the Competitiveness of Specialty Crops

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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New York State and NY Farm Viability Institute (NYFVI)

Deadline Date:



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Grants starting at $50,000 to New York nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and governmental entities for programs that strengthen the competitiveness of specialty crops in the state. Priority areas of funding include grower education and specialty crop research. Eligible projects will have general applicability and statewide significance to the specialty crop industry.

New York’s specialty crop agricultural and food systems industry is a valuable component of the State’s economy, the environment, residents’ health, and quality of life. The purpose of New York’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is to enhance the competitiveness of New York specialty crops by creating partnerships; fostering innovation; increasing efficiencies and reducing costs; and enhancing the long term viability of New York’s specialty crop agricultural businesses and food systems. Definition of Specialty Crops For the purpose of this RFP, “specialty crops” means fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and nursery crops (including floriculture). A detailed list of commonly recognized specialty crops is provided here:

Examples of research and grower education projects include, but are not limited to:
- Research and/or education that address a key conventional or organic production problem or need specific to New York State;
- Developing and increasing the utilization of Integrated Pest Management strategies and programs;
- Prioritizing and addressing native and exotic pests and disease threats through development of pest risk assessments;
- Supporting plant breeding for the development of specialty crops resistant to exotic and native pests;
- Applied research and development to extend the growing season of New York specialty crops through new technologies, improved management practices, or other innovative production strategies.
- Developing new seed varieties and specialty crops with optimal performance under New York State conditions;

Eligible costs include personnel, fringe benefits, travel, special purpose equipment, supplies, and contractual costs and services directly related to an eligible project. Indirect costs are allowed at a rate not to exceed the federal maximum of 8% of the grant amount requested. For more details see:

Applicants are asked to indicate which of the following NYFVI priority areas most closely aligns with the intent of the project. If absolutely necessary, a second priority can be selected as well. More extensive definitions of these emphasis areas can be seen in the online application form:
- Improvement of individual specialty crop operations
- Industry-wide innovation
- Early development of new ideas and methods
- Improved marketing practices and market access
- Development of human capital

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 142773

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Funding requests for individual projects must be between $50,000 and $100,000.

Term of Contract:

Projects must be completed within 2 years from the award date.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants include:
- Not-for-profit organizations (NFP)
- Not-for-profit educational institutions
- Local and Indian tribal governments

Grant funds will not be awarded for projects that solely benefit a particular commercial product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution or individual. Single organizations, institutions, and individuals are encouraged to participate as project partners.

NYFVI strongly encourages collaborative efforts between NFPs, educational institutions, government applicants and private for profits in order to achieve the goals and objectives of this program. For-profits are not eligible applicants; however, for-profits may partner with not-for-profits provided that the NFP is the lead applicant.

Pre-Application Information:

Key Dates:
- Sunday, February 17, 2019 – Applications due by 11:59 p.m.
- May 2019 – Successful applicants contacted.
- October 2019 – Anticipated Grant Awards Announcement by USDA (projects must not begin prior to award announcement.)
- December 31, 2021 – All projects must be completed before this date

All applications must be submitted online. Applicants must note that, when first using the online application system, they will have to apply for system credentials. Staff will then supply applicants with a login and password, which can be changed upon first logging in. The staff processing of credentials can take several days.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact the NYFVI Grant Coordinator or Executive Director with any questions. All questions, and their answers will be posted on the website. All applicants will be notified if a new question and answer has been posted.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply online:

Questions about the Specialty Crop RFP or application must be submitted via email to the Grants Coordinator, Kathe Evans:

159 Dwight Park
Circle #104
Syracuse, NY 13209
(315) 453-3823

Executive Director
David Grusenmeyer

Financial Manager
Eileen Maher

Outreach and Communications
Aileen Randolph

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: New York City;   New York