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RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is accepting grant applications for the 2019 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Applicants have until 5 p.m. March 1 to apply.

“Specialty crops make up a significant portion of the state’s $87 billion agriculture industry and we would like to see this area of production grow,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Grant requests of up to $200,000 can be made through this program.”

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The program aims to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in the marketplace. Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops including floriculture.

Grants are not available for projects that directly benefit or provide a profit to a single organization, institution or individual. Applications must include biographical sketches on each person responsible for developing and implementing the project. In addition, applications must include at least one letter of support for the proposed project.

Applications are open to state and local governments, academic institutions, nonprofit associations, producer associations, community-based organizations and other specialty crop stakeholders. Interested parties can apply as single entities or in combined efforts.

For grant guidelines and an application, go to www.ncagr.gov/markets/scgrant. For questions, contact Sarah Pearce at 919-707-3158 or by email at sarah.pearce@ncagr.gov.