The Department of Agriculture is offering some specialty crop grants. Its been done since 2009 as it was written into the 2008 farm bill.
“These grants do a great job in helping to promote our different commodities and programs in NC. There is about $1 million available to government, collegiate and non-profit agencies. Its about improving the competitiveness of specialty crops across the state.
The money is only available if it benefits a large group of people, not just one individual or one business. We make these grants to help large groups and commodities. Those are some of the parameters that we have set up.
In general terms, we are talking about fruits and tree nuts, vegetables, culinary herbs and spices, municipal plants as well as nursery and horticulture crops. It’s a wide array of crops that are available.
This is something that we agreed on and pushed to get done because we do realize the importance of specialty crops in our state. For the most part these are high value crops, they return a lot of money per acres and it’s a good way for smaller farmers to have a good income on small acreage.
We are ranked number four in diversity of crops, specialty crops play a big role in that diversity. That’s the reason these funds are available.
The application deadline for the grants is at 5PM April 26. We will accept grant applications starting at $20,000. This is for non-profits, community associations, state and local government agencies and universities.
To get a grant manual and an application www.ncspecialtygrant.org or you can call Jeff at 919-701-3111.”