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  • Randi AlexanderRolison

ODA Accepting Proposals for 2023 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

December 2, 2022 - The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) is now accepting proposals for project ideas as part of the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) for 2023. Approximately $2 million is expected to be available to agriculture industry associations, producer groups, processors, commodity commissions, non-profits, for-profits, and local government agencies in Oregon. Funding for Oregon's program is contingent upon federal funding for the SCBGP.

Specialty crops are defined as commonly recognized fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops. Oregon ranks in the top ten nationwide in the production of specialty crops.

For the 2023 SCBGP Request for Proposals, ODA has a single-phase process known as the Grant Proposal Application. ODA is requesting 15-page grant proposals from applicants describing their proposed projects. Submissions should be submitted online and must be received by Tuesday, January 31, 2023, at noon Pacific Standard Time.

ODA will offer online and live, recorded, virtual training to provide applicants with an in-depth look at the program and explain the grant writing process step-by-step. Details, including time and date for the online training, are posted on ODA's website. https://oda.direct/SCBGP

Based on a survey of specialty crop producers, associations, commissions, and other stakeholders to determine priority needs, the following 2023 SCBGP funding priorities have been identified.

- Market Development and Access for international, regional, domestic, and local/farm direct markets

- Food safety compliance and traceability

- Cross commodity collaboration

- Addressing the regulatory burden

- On-farm labor needs, workforce programs, or tools

- Productivity enhancements, innovation, value-added products

- Agriculture and food-related priorities identified by Oregon Solutions Network Regional Solutions Centers

Projects not addressing one of the identified priorities are still eligible for funding if they meet all other program requirements.

Details of the funding priorities can be found at: https://oda.direct/SCBGPpriorities

In March 2023, an industry advisory committee will evaluate proposals and make recommendations to ODA Director on selecting the top-ranked applicants. Selected applicants will be submitted to USDA in the Oregon State Plan Application. Projects chosen to receive funding will be announced by November 2023.

ODA and the advisory committee are looking for innovative two-and-a-half-year proposals with a suggested funding range of $25,000 to $175,000. They encourage interested parties to work regionally to submit collaborative project proposals that benefit Oregon growers and processors and partners in other states that share common specialty crops. Those who have received specialty crop grant funds in the past are also encouraged to apply, whether they are interested in building on an existing project or proposing a new project.

Match funding is not a requirement of this program; however, applicants are highly encouraged to provide some level of match to show the importance and value of the project and to show sustainability beyond SCBGP funds.

ODA staff is available to provide applicants directions on submitting grant proposal applications, and other information is available at: https://oda.direct/SCBGP or by contacting ODA's Market Access and Certification Program at (503) 986-4620.



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