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MDARD Announces Specialty Crop Grant Opportunity

Proposals due to the department by 3 p.m. February 24, 2022

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD)  Director Gary McDowell today announced a request for proposals through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Ag Marketing Services.

The program is designed to enhance the competitiveness of Michigan’s specialty crops. Grant proposals must be emailed to MDARD at by 3:00 p.m. on February 24, 2022.  

The grants have a maximum award of $100,000 for research proposals and $125,000 for marketing, training, and education proposals designed to enhance the competitiveness of the state’s specialty crops.  Specialty crops are defined as "fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).”

The awarded grants will b funded by traditional Farm Bill funding or H.R. 133 funding. USDA is encouraging H.R. 133 funding to be COVID-related, noting anything traditionally allowable under the Farm Bill funding is permitted. MDARD welcomes proposals on COVID-19 related disruptions impacting the specialty crop industry. The program’s funding priorities are: 

  • Market enhancement to promote specialty crops
    • Market Expansion, Availability, and Access to Specialty Crops
    • Farm to Institution
  • Research and development relevant to specialty crops
    • Plant Health & Pest Management
    • Farm Sustainability
  • Training and education addressing local, regional, and national challenges confronting specialty crop producers
    • Enhancing Food Safety
    • Environmental Sustainability
    • Workforce/Labor

Acceptable proposal activities include, but are not limited to, the following: promotion; marketing; research; nutrition; trade enhancement; food safety; food security; plant health programs; education; increased knowledge and consumption; increased innovation; improved efficiency and reduced costs of distribution systems; environmental concerns and conservation; product development; good agricultural practices; good handling practices; and good manufacturing practices.

Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations; local, state, and federal government entities; and for-profit organizations. The organizations must be legal entities recognized by the Internal Revenue Service, and applicants must reside and/or conduct their business in Michigan. Proposals should demonstrate how the project will potentially produce measurable impacts for the specialty crop industry as a whole, and not benefit only a specific product or a single organization, institution, or individual.

For program information, application form, and submission criteria, visit, at the bottom of the page click on the Specialty Crop Block tab. Join the webinar at the following link: 

For more details on the informational webinar on January 6, 2022, at 10 a.m. visit the website for the link, no pre-registration if required.