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NCDA&CS accepting proposals for 2016 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

RALEIGH –The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is accepting grant proposals for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Nonprofits and government agencies wishing to apply have until March 25.

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program aims to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in the marketplace. It is managed by the department and funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the 2014 farm bill.

“In 2015, we were able to award more than $1 million to fund 13 projects across the state,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “I hope that we are able to see even more proposals this year as we continue to grow the state’s $76 billion agriculture industry.”

The department will accept grant requests ranging from $20,000 to $200,000 from nonprofit organizations, commodity associations, state and local government agencies, colleges and universities. Grants are not available for projects that directly benefit or provide a profit to a single organization, institution or individual. The application deadline is 5 p.m. March 25.

Eligible projects must involve fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, culinary herbs and spices, medicinal plants, nursery, floriculture or horticulture crops. Funding is also available for projects aimed at developing local and regional food systems and improving food access.

For grant guidelines and an application, go to www.NCSpecialtyCropGrant.org. A conference call will be held on Feb. 22 at 10 a.m. for interested applicants to ask questions about the grant program. For call login instructions and other questions, contact Jeff Camden at 919-707-3111 or by email at SpecialtyCropGrant@ncagr.gov.

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