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MDA Announces Specialty Crop Grant Opportunity
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The program is designed to enhance the competitiveness of Michigan’s specialty crops. Grant proposals must be received by MDA no later than April 1, 2011.

Source: Michigan Department of Agriculture

Michigan Department of Agriculture Announces Specialty Crop Grant Opportunity

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) Director Keith Creagh and U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture,Nutrition and Forestry today announced new opportunities for Michigan businesses thanks to the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Ag Marketing Services.  The program is designed to enhance the competitiveness of Michigan’s specialty crops.  Grant proposals must be received by MDA no later than April 1, 2011.

"This grant program provides a unique opportunity for our state’s specialtycrop producers to enhance their profitability by expanding their domestic and international markets," said Creagh. "We appreciate Senator Stabenow’s continued support of Michigan’s agriculture industry and look forward to continued partnerships in the future."

Because of Senator Stabenow’s work, the 2008 Farm Bill (Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008) was the first one in history to recognize the importance of specialty crops – fruits, vegetables, nursery products, and floriculture.

"I authored this grant program during the most recent Farm Bill so our growers can continue to make significant investments in Michigan’s specialty crop sector," said Senator Stabenow. "These grants support the men and women who grow fruits and vegetables – and create thousands of jobs throughout Michigan."

The grants, ranging from $10,000 to $75,000, enhance the competitiveness of thestate’s specialty crops, including, but not limited to: research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, plant health programs, education, increased knowledge and consumption, increased innovation, improved efficiency and reduced costs of distributionsystems, environmental concerns and conservation, product development, goodagricultural practices, good handling practices, and good manufacturing practices.

Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations, local, state, and federal government entities, for-profit organizations, and universities. The organizations must be legal entities recognized by the IRS, and applicants must reside and/or conduct their business or organization in Michigan. Applications should demonstrate how the project will potentially produce measurable impacts for the specialty crop industry as a whole and not-for-profit to a specific product, single organization, institution, or individual.

For program information, application form, or submission criteria, please visit www.michigan.gov/mda or contact Mike DiBernardo at dibernardom@michigan.gov or 517-373-9144. Proposal must be RECEIVED (not postmarked) by 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 1, 2011.