Georgia Department of Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin says that nearly $1 million in federal funds are on the way from Washington for competitive grants that promote the marketing and enhancement of “specialty crops” in the state.

The funds, distributed as part of the 2008 farm bill, are designated under the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Irvin says $909,576.44 in U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) funds will be awarded on a competitive basis for developmental projects that support and enhance the competitiveness of Georgia Specialty Crops.

Awards will be presented for projects that can successfully measure the greatest return on investment of the federal dollars. Grants of $10,000 up to $150,000 will be awarded for up to three years.



The Georgia Specialty Crops eligible for these competitive grants include: Fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, Christmas trees, turfgrass (sod) in addition to nursery and greenhouse crops.



Organizations eligible to apply include non-profit organizations, corporations, commodity associations, state and local governments, colleges and universities. Applicants must live, conduct business or have an educational affiliation in Georgia. The application deadline is 5 p.m., Friday, July 17, 2009.



Grants 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. To request an application for this grant program e-mail inquiries to grants@agr.state.ga.us or write Georgia Department of Agriculture, Specialty Crops Block Grant Program, 19 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SW, Atlanta, Ga 30334.