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2018-2020 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

The RIDEM/Division of Agriculture is pleased to announce the availability of Farm Viability grant funds for the purpose of enhancing the Competitiveness of Specialty Crops grown in Rhode Island.

Specialty crops are defined by this federally supported program as fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, and nursery crops including floriculture such as Christmas Trees, cut flowers, honey, hops, and turf grass production. Examples of enhancing the market competitiveness of specialty crops include, but are not limited to: Research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, plant health programs, education, "buy local" programs, increased consumption, increased innovation, improved efficiency and reduced costs of distribution systems, environmental concerns and conservation, product development, and developing cooperatives.

Grant applications and projects must further the competitiveness of specialty crops only as broadly as possible in Rhode Island, and not just serve to enhance individual farm viability pursuant to USDA program guidelines. 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. Please click here for an overview of the program and some examples of grant requests.

  • A total of $150,000 is available for projects with no direct match required.
  • Awards will be made in amounts of $10,000 to $50,000 for each project.
  • Any Rhode Island agricultural or educational association or organization, individual farmer, or resident is eligible to apply.
  • One application per agricultural or educational association or organization, individual farmers or resident is permitted.

The DEM Agricultural Advisory Committee who will make recommendations to DEM will review applications. Applications, accompanied by a W9 form, must be postmarked no later than March 31, 2016 and sent to DEM's Division of Agriculture, 235 Promenade Street, Room 370, Providence, RI 02908 to be considered. Grant-related questions should be directed to Peter Susi, Deputy Chief DEM/Division of Agriculture (or by telephone at 401.222-2781, ext. 4517).

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