Definition of Specialty Crops

Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. Specialty crops are plants that are intensively cultivated. There are many plants that are specialty crops when cultivated but are also collected from wild populations. Wild plants are not considered specialty crops even though they may be used for the same purpose as cultivated plants.

Eligible Specialty Crops

Commonly recognized fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and nursery crops (including floriculture

  • Chickpeas
  • Christmas trees
  • Cocoa
  • Coffee
  • Cut flowers
  • Dry edible beans
  • Dry peas
  • Foliage
  • Fruit grapes for wine
  • Garlic
  • Ginger root
  • Ginseng
  • Herbs
  • Honey
  • Hops
  • Lavender
  • Lentils
  • Maple syrup
  • Mushrooms
  • Organic fruits and vegetables
  • Peppermint
  • Potatoes
  • Seaweed
  • Spearmint
  • Sweet Corn
  • Vanilla
  • Vegetable seeds


Ineligible Commodities

  • Cotton and cottonseed
  • Feed crops such as barley, corn, hay, oats, sorghum grain, millet, alfalfa
  • Flaxseed
  • Food grains such as rice, rye, wheat
  • Hemp
  • Livestock and dairy products, including eggs
  • Marine or fresh water aquaculture
  • Oil crops such as peanut, soybean, sunflower, safflower, rapeseed, canola, mustard seed, evening primrose, borage
  • Peanuts
  • Range grasses
  • Sugar beets
  • Sugarcane
  • Tobacco
  • Tofu


Please visit the USDA’s Definition of Specialty Crops website for a more comprehensive listing of eligible and ineligible commodities.

Susan Lawrence

P.O. Box 1609
Jackson, MS 39215

Phone: (601) 359-1196
Fax: (601) 354-6001

Additional Information

» Definition of Specialty Crops
» Eligibility Requirements
» Application Process
» Previously Funded Projects
» Frequently Asked Questions