USDA Agricultural Marketing Services (AMS) provides the funds to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in the state. IDALS will award grants up to a maximum of $30,000 from these funds.
The project(s) must enhance the competitiveness of Iowa grown specialty crops that benefit the industry as a whole and that do not directly benefit a particular product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution, or individual. Additional points are awarded to projects that are within the identified priority areas.
Single organizations, institutions, and individuals are encouraged to participate as project partners.
IDALS will accept proposals for consideration for specialty crop block grant funds from Iowa agencies, universities, institutions, and producer, industry, and community based organizations. To be eligible for a grant, the project(s) must solely enhance the competitiveness of Iowa grown specialty crops that benefit the industry as a whole and that do not directly benefit a particular product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution, or individual. Grant funds will not be awarded for projects that solely benefit a particular commercial product or provide a profit to single organization, institution, or individual. Single organizations, institutions, and individuals are encouraged to participate as project partners. Applicants must be a legal entity and have the legal capacity to contract.
Eligible Specialty Crops
Specialty crops are defined in law as “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.” USDA – Agricultural Marketing Service provides a more detailed definition and lists eligible plants commonly considered fruits and tree nuts, vegetables, culinary herbs and spices, medical plants and nursery, floriculture, and horticultural crops at: https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/scbgp/specialty-crop Both fresh and processed specialty crops are eligible. Ineligible commodities are also listed. Livestock and poultry are not considered specialty crops.
Eligible Grant Projects
To be eligible for a grant, the project(s) enhance the competitiveness of Iowa grown specialty crops that benefit the industry as a whole and that do not directly benefit a particular product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution, or individual. Additional points are awarded to projects that are within the identified priority areas.
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) encourages projects pertaining to the following issues affecting the specialty crop industry:
increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops;
improving efficiency and reducing costs of distribution systems;
assisting all entities in the specialty crops distribution chain in developing Good Agricultural Practices, Good Handling Practices, and Good Manufacturing Practices, and in cost-share arrangements for funding audits of such systems for small farmers, packers, and processors;
investing in specialty crop research , including research to focus on conservation and environmental outcomes;
enhancing food safety;
developing new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops;
pest and disease control; and
development of organic and sustainable production practices.
Increasing competitiveness may include developing local and regional food systems, and improving food access in underserved communities. Applicants should describe how the project potentially impacts and produces measurable outcomes for the specialty crop industry and/or the public rather than a single organization, institution, or individual.
Numerous restrictions and rules apply to the appropriateness of projects and the disposition of funds. Refer to the grant guidelines (below) for details.
This grant has significant application materials and pre-requisite registrations required before submitting the application. Before beginning your application:
Read the Request For Applications thoroughly
Look up your DUNS number or request one here.
Register with SAM.gov
Application Procedures and Requirements Submission
Submit the the project documents separately with the exception of the support letters. Proposal applications must include the following documents in the following order:
Completed and signed IDALS Cover Sheet
2022 Project Profile
Letters or other evidence of commitment by partners, resource providers and documentation of matching funds if applicable
Three letters in support of project and its goals at least 1 from a grower/grower group
Printed registration page from SAM.GOV showing status on SAM.GOV
Completed and signed W-9 Form
Completed and signed Minority Impact Statement
Completed Grantee Self-Assessment of Internal Controls and Risks
Proposals must be received by IDALS on or before 4:00 p.m. CT on March 11, 2022. Proposals must be mailed, e-mailed, or delivered. Electronic submission is preferred. IDALS will not accept faxed proposals, with the exception that the cover sheet and W-9 forms which may be faxed because they require a signature. You must meet this deadline by delivering the application package or mailing it sufficiently in advance of the deadline to ensure its timely receipt.
IDALS will send applicants an e-mail confirmation within two business days of receiving the proposal. IDALS may return late and/or incomplete proposals without consideration.
Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
Wallace State Office Building
502 E. 9th Street
Des Moines IA 50319
Phone: (515) 281-7657
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
Natural Resources Conservation Service
- Cost Share
- Cover Crops
- Forest Management
- Certified Grassfed
- High Tunnel
- Certified Organic
- Air Quality
- Alternative Energy
- Soil Health
- Wildlife & Pollinator Habitat
- Water Quality
- Precision Ag
- Nutrient Management
- Carbon Capture
- Grazing Management
- Reduced Inputs
Direct Farm Operating Loan
Farm Service Agency
- Animal Purchase
- Cash Rent
- Pest Management
- Legal & Finance
- Water Management
- Waterway Protection
- Water Quality
- Reduced Tillage
Inflation Reduction Act Assistance for Distressed Borrowers
Farm Service Agency
- Socially Disadvantaged
- Disaster Relief
Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)
Rural Development · Due Sep 30
- Cost Share
- Alternative Energy
- Solar Power
- Wind Energy
- Hydro Power
January 21, 2023
March 10, 2023
Maximum Award Amount
Updated February 5, 2023
Image Credit: Julianna Arjes
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