USDA Grant Updates

March 18, 2020


Katelyn Parsons

Specialty Crop Block Grant Program – Submission Update

Due to COVID-19 and in compliance with State guidelines, MDAR can only accept email submissions for this year’s SCBG applications.

The purpose of the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) is to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Specialty crops are defined as “fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).” USDA specific definition of Specialty Crops is here.

Please send applications to [email protected] by 5:00pm on April 3, 2020. *If USDA makes any adjustments to their timeline, MDAR will then adjust our submission date if needed.

MDAR will send a confirmation of receipt of your application. If you submit your application and do not receive a prompt confirmation, please contact Keri Cornman or Rebecca Davidson.

Rebecca Davidson is available to answer questions or to provide technical assistance as you develop your proposal. Please contact her at [email protected] or 857-202-7699 with any questions.

USDA Announces $37 Million in Grants Available to Local and Regional Food Systems

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) recently announced the availability of $37 million in competitive grant funding under the 2018 Farm Bill’s Local Agricultural Marketing Program (LAMP). These grants support the development, coordination and expansion of direct producer-to-consumer marketing, local and regional food markets and enterprises and value-added agricultural products.

There is $27 million available through the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) and $10 million available through the newly established Regional Foods System Partnership (RFSP) program.

This is the first grant cycle for the RFSP. This program funds projects that connect public and private resources to plan and develop local or regional food systems with the goal of increasing access to and availability of locally and regionally produced agricultural products.

FMLFPP is administered in two components:

  • Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) funds projects that develop, coordinate and expand direct producer-to-consumer markets.
  • Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) funds projects that develop, coordinate and expand local and regional food business enterprises that engage as intermediaries in indirect producer-to-consumer marketing.

FMLFPP and RFSP require cost share or matching funds in an amount equal to 25 percent of the total federal portion of the grant. Additionally, applicants may use up to $6,500 of the amount requested in their application for upgrades to equipment to improve food safety.

Applications must be submitted electronically through Eastern Time on the due dates established in the respective request for applications.

For more information about grant eligibility and previously funded projects, visit the AMS Grants webpage.

USDA Grant application Period is Now Open for Regional Food System Partnerships Program

USDA AMS The Regional Food System Partnerships (RFSP) program supports partnerships that connect public and private resources to plan and develop local or regional food systems. Effort is focused on building and strengthening local or regional food economy viability and resilience by alleviating unnecessary administrative and technical barriers for participating partners.

AMS is soliciting applications from eligible partnerships, which include at least one eligible entity and at least one eligible partner.

The 2020 RFSP grant application period is now open. The deadline for submitting applications for the 2020 Request for Applications is May 11, 2020 at 11:59 pm, Eastern time.

More information at