Today’s Topic: Specialty-crop grants available

by | Apr 9, 2013

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

Southern Farm Network logoThe NCDA&CS is offering about $1 million in grants to government, collegiate and nonprofit agencies interested in improving the competitiveness of specialty crops across the state.

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the 2008 farm bill. Funding is available for a variety of projects related to fruits and tree nuts, vegetables, culinary herbs and spices, medicinal plants, as well as nursery, floriculture and horticulture crops.

Last year, the department awarded more than $1.1 million in grants. Those grants have already helped promote established crops such as sweet potatoes, and have funded new research for hops, organic farming and other projects still getting off the ground.

Commissioner Troxler says specialty crops are often high-value crops that can be produced on a relatively small number of acres. The grants go a long way to help small farmers diversify their crops and stay competitive in the marketplace.

The department will accept grant applications starting at $20,000 from nonprofit organizations, commodity associations, state and local government agencies, colleges and universities. Grants are not available for projects that directly benefit or provide a profit to a single organization, institution or individual.

The application deadline is 5 p.m. April 26. For grant manuals and an application, go to If you have questions, contact Jeff Camden at 919-707-3111 or

Click on the audio player below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda discuss this grant program and the role specialty crops play in the diversity of North Carolina agriculture.

[Audio:|titles=Today’s Topic for April 9]

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