Nearly $52 million in federal grant money is now available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service to help promote and market specialty crops including floriculture, nursery and horticulture crops.
The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which is part of the current Farm Bill, is something SAF and the American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA) lobbied for aggressively as steering committee members of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance (SCFBA). SCFBA was formed to ensure that specialty crops such as floral and nursery products were recognized in the Farm Bill as critically important parts of the U.S. agricultural economy.
In the past, several state organizations have successfully competed for funds – just a few examples include:
- The Texas State Floral Association program to increase demand for Texas plants and flowers.
- The Alaska Peony Growers Association program to help improve peony production practices and to design a website for the association.
- The Hawaii Tropical Flower Council’s program to increase awareness and sales of Hawaii’s tropical flowers.
- The “Make it a Real Michigan Christmas Tree” website to promote Christmas trees, poinsettias and other floral and nursery products from Michigan for the holidays.
- The California Cut Flower Commission grants in previous years, including one to assist in developing a statewide transportation system to benefit cut flower growers, and another to examine sustainability practices.
State departments of agriculture are encouraged by USDA to develop grant applications promptly. States implement their own programs with guidance and oversight from USDA. The states’ applications must be received by USDA between May 9, 2013 and July 10, 2013.
Organizations interested in participating should contact their state department of agriculture.