Secretary Naig Encourages Iowans to Apply Now for 2021 Specialty Crop Block Grants

DES MOINES, Iowa (Jan. 27, 2021)  – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is now accepting applications for the 2021 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. To qualify, the grants must be used to support projects that raise awareness about and increase demand for specialty crops grown in Iowa.

“Specialty crop block grants are a win-win for producers, distributors and consumers,” said Secretary Naig. “The programs they support help strengthen local distribution channels, which gives specialty crop producers more markets to sell their products, and they make it easier for consumers to buy protein and produce grown right here in Iowa.”

Eligible specialty crops include both fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. 

Successful grant applications should explain how projects will improve specialty crop production through marketing and promotions, research and development, expanding availability and access to specialty crops, and addressing local, regional and national challenges confronting specialty crop producers. All projects must have an educational component. Preference will be given to projects that have the potential to significantly expand, enhance and improve production and demand.

Iowa agencies, universities, institutions, producers, industry associations and community-based organizations are eligible to apply. Single organizations, institutions and individuals are encouraged to participate as project partners. Grant applications for projects that directly benefit a particular product or generate a profit for a single organization, institution or individual will not be awarded.

Awardees may receive up to $24,000 and projects can have a duration of up to 30 months.

Proposals must be received by the Iowa Department of Agriculture on or before 4 p.m./CT on March 11, 2021. For more information, visit the Specialty Crop Block Grant program website.

The Department is establishing a review committee to help evaluate and make recommendations on the submitted grant proposals. Those interested in participating in the review committee should be knowledgeable about specialty crops and/or have grant writing or grant management experience, and be able to devote the time to complete the review process. Additional information about reviewer responsibilities, meeting dates and an application form can also be found at iowaagriculture.gov/agricultural-diversification-market-development-bureau/specialty-crop-block-grant-program. Applications to participate in the Review Committee are due Feb. 11, 2021 by 4 p.m./CT.

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About the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Led by Secretary Mike Naig, the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship serves the rural and urban residents that call Iowa home. Through its 12 diverse bureaus, the Department ensures animal health, food safety and consumer protection. It also promotes conservation efforts to preserve our land for the next generation. Learn more at iowaagriculture.gov.

Media Contact:
Keely Coppess
Communications Director
(515) 326-1616           
Keely.Coppess@IowaAgriculture.gov