Specialty Crop Block Grant Program - Farm Bill


The U.S. Department of Agriculture?s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) implements the Specialty Crop Block Grants through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) and the Specialty Crop Multi-State Program (SCMP) to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture). The SCBGP issues non-competitive, formula grants to state departments of agriculture for the purposes of leveraging efforts to market and promote specialty crops; assisting producers with research and development relevant to specialty crops; expanding availability and access to specialty crops; and addressing local, regional, and national challenges confronting specialty crop producers. SCMP competitively awards funds for collaborative, multi-state projects that address the following regional or national level specialty crop issues: food safety, plant pests and disease, research, crop-specific projects addressing common issues, and marketing.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Agricultural Marketing Service, Department of Agriculture
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
A - Formula Grants; B - Project Grants
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2018 Accomplishments for the SCBGP and SCMP can be found at www.ams.usda.gov/grants.
Section 101 of the Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004 (7 U.S.C. 1621 note) and amended under section 10107 of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Public Law 115-334 (the Farm Bill)., Public Law 115-334
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Eligible entities for the SCBGP include the State department of agriculture, agency, commission, or department of a State government responsible for agriculture within any of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Eligible entities for SCMP are the same; however, non-Federal entities residing in nonparticipating States may apply for, compete, and if merited receive a grant directly from AMS.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Producers, processors, growers, state agencies, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers, and general public.
A grant agreement is entered into between the AMS and the eligible entity that submits the application. OMB Guidance for Grants Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards at 2 CFR SS 200 and 2 CFR SS 400 applies to this program. 2 CFR SS 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is not applicable.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. 2 CFR SS 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. AMS only accepts electronic applications which are submitted via Grants.gov in response to specific RFA. Please refer to the RFA for further details for submitting applications. The most current RFAs are available at www.ams.usda.gov/grants. Any specific instructions in the RFAs supersede the general information provided in the CFDA database.
Award Procedure
AMS outlines the application requirements and merit review process in each grant program's RFA. Applicants are required to use the RFA to apply for grant funds. After the application deadline has passed, AMS begins a three-step process to evaluate each application submitted to the grant program and select applications for funding. Grant agreements are established with applicants based on the results of this three-step process to ensure compliance with requirement that Federal awarding agencies maintain a fair, unbiased merit review process in selecting competitively awarded grants. The Initial Qualification Screening is Step 1. In this step, the application is reviewed to ensure that they met the RFA's basic requirements. Applications that met these basic requirements moved forward to Step 2. Step 2 is the Competitive Review. Applications are evaluated by panels of external peer reviewers. Selected reviewers have diverse expertise representing various entities with programmatic knowledge. To eliminate bias, AMS assigns applications to reviewers outside of their own geographic areas and avoid project assignments associated with reviewer businesses. Each reviewer also signs a conflict of interest and confidentiality agreement. Reviewers that indicate a real or perceived conflict do not review the affected application(s) and are removed from those application discussions. The panels analyze each application using the RFA's evaluation criteria and instructions prepared by AMS. Individual reviewers evaluate and score their assigned applications and then confer with their team to derive a consensus review. The consensus review serves as the basis for awarding grant funds and focuses on the applications' strengths and weaknesses. The third step is the Administrative Review (Step 3). AMS conducts a final administrative evaluation of each application in the review panels' top rankings and recommendations. In addition to the applications' scores, each award is reviewed to ensure that the recommended applications align with the grant program's statutory purpose and that the budget items were allowable and necessary. AMS also assesses the applicants' ability to account for the use of Federal funds and monitor the performance associated with these monies. Since the SCBGP is a non-competitive grant program, its application review process is limited to Step 3.
Contact the headquarters or regional location, as appropriate for application deadlines
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Eligible applicants should contact the headquarters office for application deadlines. Annual application deadlines are posted in Grants.gov. More information can be found at www.ams.usda.gov/grants.
No formal appeal procedure.
Awards are for 3 calendar years.
How are proposals selected?
Criteria for selecting proposals are within guidelines established for the program as described in the RFA. The most current RFA is available via Grants.gov or www.ams.usda.gov/grants.
How may assistance be used?
Projects must enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Performance Reports: Annual performance and financial reports are required. A final performance and financial report are required within 90 days after the expiration date of the grant period. See www.ams.usda.gov/grants for more information.
In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR SS 200.503 For each year that a State receives a grant under this section, the State shall conduct an audit of the expenditures of grant funds by the State in accordance with 2 CFR SS 200, Subpart F- Audit Requirements. This program is also subject to audit by the cognizant Federal audit agency and the USDA Office of Inspector General.
Recipients must retain financial and other records relating to grant for a period of three years after the final Federal Financial Report (SF-425) is received by the Agricultural Marketing Service or until final resolution of any audit findings or litigation claims relating to this program.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory Formula: Percent: Other Each eligible State department of agriculture that submits an application that the SCBGP reviews and accepts is eligible to receive an amount that is at least equal to the higher of $100,000 or 1/3 of 1% of the total amount of funding made available each fiscal year. The remainder of funding is allocated based on the average of the most recent available value of State specialty crop production and each State’s specialty crop acreage as demonstrated in the most recent Census of Agriculture data. Eligible State department of agriculture applicants who do not apply for or do not request all available funding during the specified grant application period will forfeit all or that portion of available funding not requested. SCBGP will allocate funds not applied for, by a date as determined by SCBGP, pro rata to the remaining State department of agriculture applicants who applied during the specified grant application period. The SCMP does not authorize formula grants.

Matching requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Funds are advanced or reimbursed. Applicants have up to 3 calendar years to use the funds. See www.ams.usda.gov/grants for grant agreement award terms and conditions to obtain information on how assistance is awarded/released.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
None/Not specified.
Headquarters Office
1400 Independence Ave. SW Rm. 4534, Stop 0269

Washington, DC 20250 US
Phone: 202-260-8702

Martin Rosier- SCMP
1400 Independence Ave SW, Rm. 4543 Mail Stop 0234
Washington, DC 20250 US
Phone: 2022608449
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Project Grants) FY 18$5,000,000.00; FY 19 est $5,000,000.00; FY 20 est $5,000,000.00; FY 17$4,000,000.00; FY 16$3,000,000.00; - SCMP Only(Formula Grants) FY 18$78,829,891.00; FY 19 est $85,000,000.00; FY 20 est $85,000,000.00; FY 17$60,932,292.00; -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
As provided for in the applicable request for applications.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
An RFA is announced each fiscal year via www.grants.gov. Additional information about the SCBGP and SCMP is available at www.ams.usda.gov/grants.
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2016 Competitive Grants: FY 16 - $3,000,000 Formula Grants: FY 16 - $72,500,000
Fiscal Year 2017 Competitive Grants: FY 17 - $4,000,000; FY 18 - $5,000,000. Formula Grants FY-17est $72,500,000; FY18 est $85,000,000
Fiscal Year 2018 SCBGP projects funded in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 can be found at www.ams.usda.gov/scbgp. SCMP projects funded in FY 2018 can be found at www.ams.usda.gov/scmp.
Fiscal Year 2019 It is anticipated that $85 million will be available to fund applications in FY 2019. Enactment of additional Federal continuing resolutions or appropriations may affect the availability or level of funding for this program.


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