Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Joe Morrissey, 518-457-0752

April 11, 2013

Department of Agriculture and Markets Accepting Applications for Specialty Crop Funding through May 9

State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine today announced that the Department is accepting applications for USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant funds.  Agricultural associations, industry groups, community-based organizations and producer groups seeking to improve the competitiveness of specialty crops in New York are eligible to submit proposals for grants from $30,000 to 100,000 per project.

“New York has an abundance of specialty crops that are extremely important to our state’s agricultural economy,” said Commissioner Aubertine.  “Specialty crops help New York agriculture maintain its diversity and also help attract new farmers into the mix every year.  This funding will assist with cutting-edge research to expand opportunities within emerging agricultural fields, fight diseases and keep New York agriculture strong.”

In December 2012, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced $1 million in federal funding under the Specialty Crop Block Grant program to support the research, development and promotion of specialty crops including fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops.  The funding also included $200,000 to help support the growth of the state's wine, beer, and spirits industry, an emerging and growing specialty crop sector in New York State.

In awarding the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant funds, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets will give priority to grant proposals with the sole purpose of enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops and benefit the greatest number of beneficiaries as they pertain to the following issues: Research and Grower Education; Marketing and Promotion; and Food Safety. 

A detailed list of commonly recognized specialty crops is provided in the Request for Proposal (RFP) and on USDA’s website.  The grant funding is contingent on the availability of funds from USDA and New York’s allocation has yet to be determined.  Applications for the 2013 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program must be received by the Department by 4:30 pm, May 9, 2013. 

Although individual producers are not eligible, they may join with groups and organizations to apply for these grants.

For program information, application form, or submission criteria, please visit Funding Opportunities on the Department’s website or contact Sue Santamarina at

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