Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

To increase fruit, vegetable, and nut consumption and improve the competitiveness of United States specialty crop producers.

Grants for this Program

Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Program Accomplishments


Uses and Use Restrictions

Projects must enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

State department of agriculture, agency, commission, or department of a State government responsible for agriculture within the State.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Producers, processors, marketing agencies, universities, and general public.


A grant agreement is entered into between the Agricultural Marketing Service and the State department of agriculture that submits the application.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

This program is not subject to the provisions of Executive Order 12372, which requires intergovernmental consultation with State and local officials.

See the Notice related to 7 CFR Part 3015, Subpart V published at 48 FR 29115 (June 24, 1983).

Application Procedures

The State department of agriculture submits SF-424 and a State plan identifying the lead agency charged with the responsibility of carrying out the plan and indicating how the grant funds will be utilized to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.

Award Procedures

Applications are reviewed by the Agricultural Marketing Service. Grantees are notified of the amount awarded by allotment letter. Grant payments are made by the electronic transfer system.


The Agricultural Marketing Service annually publishes application dates and deadlines in the Federal Register.


Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004, Section 101, 7 U.S.C. 1621 note.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

90 to 180 days from the application deadline.


No formal appeal procedure.


Awards are for 3 years. Additional time to complete the project may be requested.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Each State that applies is to receive $100,000. In addition, each State will receive an amount that represents the proportion of the value of specialty crop production in the state in relation to the national value of specialty crop production using the latest available complete specialty crop production data set in all states whose applications are accepted.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Funds are advanced in one lump sum. Applicants generally have 3 years to use the funds, but extensions may be granted.

Post Assistance Requirements


Annual performance reports are required.

A final performance report and financial report are required within 90 days after the expiration date of the grant period.


The State is required to conduct an audit of the expenditures of specialty crop block grant funds in accordance with Government Auditing Standards not later than 60 days after expiration of the grant period. Not later than 30 days after completion of the audit, the State shall submit a copy of the audit results with an executive summary to the Agricultural Marketing Service.


The State shall retain financial and other records relating to the funds and these programs for a period of three years after expiration of the grant period or until final resolution of any audit findings or litigation claims relating to this program.

Financial Information

Account Identification



FY 07 $6,930,000; FY 08 $8,440,000; and FY 09 est not reported.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

New program, not applicable.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature


Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office


Headquarters Office

Project Manager, Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, Department of Agriculture, Room 2086-S, 1400 Independence Avenue S.W., Washington, DC 20250. Telephone: (202) 690-4942, Fax: (202) 690-0102.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Proposals are evaluated based on the potential for enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops.

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