Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles recently announced that farmers and other eligible applicants in Kentucky may seek funding from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture for producing and marketing “specialty crops.”
Specialty crops are defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops.
“Our soils and climate are conducive for Kentucky to be a major producer of specialty crops,” Quarles said. “In today’s global economy, we’re looking for applicants that will make our specialty crops more competitive not only in this country but around the world.”
Eligible producers, commodity groups, agriculture organizations, colleges and universities, municipalities, state agencies, and nonprofit organizations may apply. The maximum award to any applicant is $50,000, but the KDA encourages applications for lesser amounts.
Applications should show how the proposed project would produce measurable benefits for the specialty crop industry and/or the public rather than just a single entity. Grant funds will not be awarded for projects that solely provide a profit for a single organization, institution, or individual. Matching funds are encouraged but not required.
Applications must be postmarked no later than June 1. Projects cannot begin until the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made its official award announcement, expected in November. The program is funded by a Specialty Crop Block Grant of more than $200,000 from USDA. The KDA administers the program in Kentucky.
To download the application form, rules, eligibility requirements, and guidelines, go to www.kyagr.com/marketing/crop-block-grant.html. For more information, contact Joshua Lindau, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s plant marketing specialist, at (502) 782-4115 or [email protected]