Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) is now accepting concept proposals for project ideas as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program for 2015. Approximately $1.5 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. Concept proposals must be submitted by noon on Tuesday, Feb. 24.
The goal of the program is to enhance the production and competitiveness of Oregon’s specialty crop industries. Eligible crops include Christmas trees, turf grasses, nursery crops (including floriculture and horticulture), fruits, vegetables and nuts.
ODA has identified the following areas as program funding priorities:
- Market development and access for international, domestic, regional, and local/farm-direct markets
- Certification programs
- Food safety compliance and traceability
- Improving efficiency of distribution systems
- Pest and disease management issues
- Training and equipping the next generation
- 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