The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) announced publication of its Request for Proposals for the Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) Program today. Over the past four years, WVDA has distributed approximately $950,000 in funding to 134 projects throughout the state through a competitive grant awards program. The SCBG is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered by the WVDA. It is anticipated that funding in 2011 will award approximately $170,000 to grant recipients throughout the State.
The grant program encourages cooperative efforts to integrate technology at the farm level, improve marketing and promotion of locally grown specialty crops, and increase production efficiency through research projects. Specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, herbs, horticulture goods, nursery stock and value-added products.
“The diversity of projects and the issues that have been addressed throughout the state in the last four years is a testament to the importance of specialty crops in West Virginia,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Gus R. Douglass. “We have funded important research work in cultivar selection for fruits and vegetables, marketing programs for start up and expanding farmers’ markets focusing on specialty crop sales, youth projects with research and marketing components, expanded the Food and Culture curriculum in a Raleigh County school to include traditional Appalachian specialty crops and increased awareness of West Virginia value-added specialty crops in regional marketplaces.”
Program guidelines and applicant materials are posted on the WVDA website www.wvagriculture.org. WVDA staff will be available during the 2011 Small Farm Conference in Morgantown (February 17-19) to discuss specific projects and answer questions about the Program. Deadline for application is Monday, March 14, 2011.
For a hard copy of the application form and additional program information, contact Marketing Specialist Melissa Hudson at 304-558-2210 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Gus R. Douglass