Specialty Crop Block Grant applications now open in MD

12 February 2024- The Maryland Department of Agriculture is now accepting proposals for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, a reimbursement grant program aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of Maryland’s specialty crops. The department anticipates that approximately $400,000 in funding will be available. 

The department is seeking applications from eligible non-profit organizations, government entities, for-profit companies, and other organizations for projects that aim to promote or enhance the production of and access to Maryland specialty crops. Specialty crops are defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as fruits, vegetables, culinary herbs and spices, honey, hops, grapes, maple syrup, Christmas trees, and nursery crops.

“Whether through diversification of their crops, or through entirely new endeavors, Maryland farmers are finding incredible rewards by growing specialty crops,” said Secretary Kevin Atticks.  

Competitive grants will be awarded for projects with a minimum of $15,000. In the past, Maryland Specialty Crop Block Grant Program grants have ranged from $15,000–$140,000. Funds will be awarded for projects lasting up to two years in duration and that conclude by Nov. 15, 2026. Proposals will be evaluated based on their potential for the greatest impact on Maryland specialty crop producers.

Applicants must be a Maryland resident or their business or educational affiliation must be in Maryland. Proposals can be completed online through Maryland OneStop. The deadline to apply is Sunday,  March 31 at 11:59 p.m. All applications submitted by the deadline will be reviewed by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program program manager and review committee.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture administers Maryland’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funding. Funding is made available by the U.S. Farm Bill through the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service

An informational Zoom webinar about the program will be held on Thursday, February 22 at 3:00 pm. 

For questions about Maryland’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and the application process, please contact Karen Fedor at scbgp.mda@maryland.gov or 410-841-5773. More information about the program is available on the department’s website.