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ODA Accepting Grant Proposals for Specialty Crop Project Funding

The Oregon Department of Agriculture is now accepting grant proposals for project funding as part of a federal program for specialty crops. Concept papers are due by 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, February 16, 2010.

ODA accepting grant proposals for next round of specialty crop project funding

The Oregon Department of Agriculture is now accepting grant proposals for project funding as part of a federal program for specialty crops. Approximately $1 million is available to agriculture industry associations, producer groups, commodity commissions, and local government agencies in Oregon. ODA is requesting one to two-page concept papers from applicants describing their proposed projects.

Concept papers are due by 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, February 16, 2010.

The federal funds are part of the US Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill. Specialty crops are defined as commonly recognized fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops. Oregon ranks fifth in the nation in production of specialty crops.

In December, ODA held listening sessions for producers, industry groups, and the public across the state to receive comment on areas of need and funding priorities for the 2010 round of specialty crop grants. Based on comments received from these sessions, ODA has identified the following areas as priorities for the 2010 funding. They are not listed in any priority order:

·      Market development and access, both international and farm-direct/local

·      Product and varietal development

·      Value-added initiatives

·      Innovation and productivity

·      Consumer education

·      Food safety and traceability

·      Certification and producer outreach, including, but not limited to, GAP/GHP, identity preserved, organic, sustainability, or other market assurance programs

An advisory board of industry representatives will evaluate concept papers and select the top ranked applicants by March 15, 2010. Successful applicants will then be asked to submit full proposals by April 30 for further review. Projects chosen to receive funding will be announced by October or November of 2010.

ODA and the advisory board will be looking for innovative proposals, and encourage interested parties to work regionally to submit collaborative project proposals that benefit Oregon producers as well as partners in other states that share common specialty crops. Projects that benefit new producers or socially disadvantaged farmers are also strongly encouraged.

Concept papers may be submitted for a project funding level minimum of $25,000 and a maximum of $100,000, and for a project timeline of up to two years. Applicants are highly encouraged to provide a dollar-for-dollar cash match. Applications without a match will not be valued as highly as those with a match.

Concept papers can be submitted online and must be received by February 16, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time to be considered for funding.

ODA staff is available to provide applicants an understanding of the 2010 granting process and requirements. However, to ensure that all applicants receive equal treatment, staff cannot provide assistance with preparing concept papers.

Directions on submitting concept papers and other information is available at <oregon.gov/ODA/grants_spec_crops.shtml> or by contacting ODA’s Agricultural Development and Marketing Division at (503) 872-6600.

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