Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find more information on USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program?

You can find more information by visiting USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program website at

Am I allowed to submit more than one application?

Applicants may submit more than one proposal. If more than one proposal is submitted, please prioritize the submissions so the Review Committee will know which one has a higher priority.

Can farmers’ market projects be funded under the SCBGP-FB?

These projects are eligible as long as the funding is being used to solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. If submitting a farmers’ market project, you must indicate in the Project Purpose section of the project proposal how the applicant will ensure that all grant funding is being used to solely enhance the competitiveness of eligible specialty crops. This may involve estimating the benefit to non-specialty crops, and using matching funds to cover that portion. Performance reports should clearly show how funding solely benefits specialty crops.

What is considered a specialty crop?

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.

How much time will I be allotted to complete my project?

Specialty crop block grant funds will be made available around October 1 each year. Funded projects must be completed within twenty-four months.

Are matching funds required?

No. Matching funds are not required.

Is there is specific criteria that is used when reviewing the proposals?

Yes. Applications are evaluated based on the merit of the submitted proposal narrative and the criteria outlined in RFP.

Is this considered a cost-reimbursement grant?

Payment of funds to the grantee will be made on a reimbursement basis as requested by the applicant. However, requests for fund advances will be considered on a case by case basis.

In order for a project to be eligible, the proposal activities and goals must focus on at least one of the Program Priority Areas as defined in the Request of Proposals. What are these Program Priority Areas?

MDAC determines the Program Priority Areas each year from feedback and comments from a number of specialty crop industry stakeholders. The priority areas may change each year based on the industry’s needs. The priority areas identified in the Request for Proposals are:

  • Promotion & Marketing
  • Specialty Crop Research
  • Grower educational programs to for new farmers and seasoned farmers
  • Increasing market opportunities for specialty crops
  • Development of new varieties and exploration of potential new fruit crops
  • Enhancing food safety
  • Pest and disease control
  • Increasing knowledge and consumption of specialty crops
  • Extension

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