Specialty crop grant funds topic of May 28 meeting
The Kansas Department of Agriculture and the agriculture marketing division of the Kansas Department of Commerce will co-host a meeting at 3 p.m., May 28, to discuss how Kansas will award grants from USDA's specialty crop block grant program.
The meeting is in the fourth floor meeting room of the Kansas Department of Agriculture, 109 SW 9th Street, Topeka.
Kansas expects to receive about $160,000 from USDA in 2009, which it will divvy up among eligible grant projects that enhance the competitiveness of Kansas' specialty crops. Grant applications are due July 13, and awards will be announced in November.
Grant applications will be reviewed by an advisory panel established specifically to review the proposals. Secretary of Agriculture Adrian Polansky will make the final awards based on his own review of the applications and feedback he receives from the advisory panel.
Specialty crops include horticulture, including turfgrass sod and turfgrass sod seed, as well as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, culinary herbs and spices, medicinal herbs, nursery crops and floriculture.
Grants will be awarded for projects that enhance the competitiveness of Kansas specialty crops and deal with the following issues: research, increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption, trade enhancement, food safety and security, pest and disease, education, "buy local" programs, promotion, marketing, more efficient and cost-effective distribution systems, environmental and conservational concerns, cost-share arrangements for funding audits for small farmers, product development, developing cooperatives, and other projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in the state.
The grants are open to commissions, public entities, associations and/or nonprofit organizations, individual companies and producers that represent Kansas specialty crops. Grant funds will not be awarded for projects that solely benefit a particular commercial product or provide a profit to a 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. Applicants also are strongly encouraged to provide a cash match for their projects.
For more information, visit the Kansas Department of Agriculture's Specialty Crop Block Grant web page.