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Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Schedule

January 6, 2014
Request for concept proposals published
January 10, 2014
Online training posted: concept proposal 
February 6, 2014 11:00am PST
Q&A Session (Webinar): concept proposal - View now
February 24, 2014 Concept proposals due to ODA 
April 11, 2014 Invitation by ODA to submit grant proposals
April 18, 2014 Full proposal training video posted
May 9, 2014
Grant proposals due to ODA 12:00 noon
June 10, 2014
Subgrantee partners selected by ODA
June 30, 2014 ODA state application submitted to USDA
October/November 2014 Award announcements from USDA
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Overview and Eligibility

U​nder the Farm Bill, the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) receives grant funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to solely enhance the competitiveness of Oregon's specialty crops. ODA conducts an annual competitive application process to award grant funds.
 
For the purposes of this program, specialty crops are defined as commonly recognized fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and nursery crops (including floriculture and horticulture).
 
Feed crops, food grains, livestock, dairy products, seafood products and oil seed crops are NOT eligible. See a complete list of eligible crops under the grant program at the USDA specialty crop block grant website at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/scbgp.
 
Eligible non-profit organizations, local, government entities, for-profit organizations, industry trade associations, producer groups, and commodity commissions can submit projects that aim to enhance the production and competitiveness of Oregon’s specialty crop industries.
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Projects and Partners

Annually, the ODA submits a state plan to the USDA that includes projects that seek to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in the state.  The ODA partners with groups and organizations to achieve this goal, while ensuring project activities are completed and targeted outcomes are met.
 
To view the projects download the following PDFs:
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Project Guidelines and Policies

The suggested project funding range is between $25,000 and $100,000 and projects may have a timeline of up to 2 years. Applicants are highly encouraged to provide evidence of matching funds, either in-kind or cash. A 1:1 cash match is preferable to in-kind, but all types of matching funds will be considered. Funded projects are eligible to receive grant funds on a quarterly reimbursement schedule. No advance payments will be made.
 
The Oregon Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Guidelines will answer all of your questions about Oregon's program.
 
Program Funding Priorities (in no order of preference): 
  • Market development and access, 
    • International
      • Understanding and addressing trade barriers or regulatory constraints in foreign markets (e.g. tariffs, TRQs, FTAs, quotas, bilateral agreements).
      • Obtaining market information and providing product exposure through trade shows, conferences, seminars, market research, consumer testing, in-bound and outbound trade missions, etc. 
      • Applying new technologies to help identify new customers and facilitate shipments (e.g. packaging configurations, customer data, logistics, transportation enhancements, etc.).
    • Local/farm-direct, regional and domestic markets 
      • Obtaining market information and providing product exposure through trade shows, conferences, seminars, market research, consumer testing, in-bound and outbound trade missions, etc. 
      • Connect farmers to consumers by enhancing direct marketing opportunities that highlight production practices, farmers, and growing locations.
      • Support the development and advancement of co-operatives to leverage grower and producer efforts.
      • Develop and enhance economic opportunities in local communities, such as agri-tourism that increase the awareness and consumption of specialty crops.
      • Increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops by expanding access at schools, at work and in local neighborhoods
    • Certification programs that enhance market access and increase sales by addressing food safety, sustainability, or other outcomes, including, but not limited to: GAP/GHP, identity preserved, organic, sustainability, Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) or other market assurance programs.
  • Food safety compliance and traceability through implementation of practices, trainings, or systems development. Assisting any segment of the specialty crop distribution chain in developing Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Good Handling Practices (GHP) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). Preparation for and/or assistance in compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). 
  • Efficiency of distribution systems by enhancing the shelf life and marketability of crops/farm products through shared post-harvest handling and storage, logistics, warehousing, cold storage, or transportation.


  • Prevention and management of pests and diseases to protect markets and minimize economic harm to specialty crop growers, including integrated pest management.


  • Training and equipping the next generation of farmers in agronomic, economic and environmental stewardship skills. Introduce, educate and recruit people to the variety of specialty crop career opportunities.


  • On-farm labor needs connecting growers with hiring resources, providing technical information about laws and compliance, or developing mechanization or methodologies for routine or repetitive labor demands. Create and implement workforce training programs to maintain the technical skills required to keep the Oregon specialty crops sector competitive.


  • Productivity enhancements and innovation in production practices, mechanization, irrigation, natural resource management, energy conservation/efficiency or renewable energy development, ecosystems services or other arenas.

Exclusions:
  • Grant funds will not be awarded for projects that directly benefit or provide profit only to a single organization, institution or individual.
  • Funds may not be used to purchase fixed assets or personal property.
  • Expenditures incurred prior to grant award may not be included in the grant request or eligible for reimbursement.
  • Administration or indirect costs (defined as expenses incurred in controlling or directing an organization, but not directly identifiable with financing, marketing or production operations) cannot be paid for with these grant funds.
Grant Awardee Requirements:
  • Any information obtained, data derived and reports resulting from a project funded by this grant must be made available to the public;
  • No administration or indirect costs may be allotted in the project;
  • Grant funds may not be used to fund political activities in accordance with provisions of the Hatch Act (5 U.S.C. 1501-1508 and 7324-7326);
  • Projects are for up to two years in duration. The ODA must be notified at least 60 days prior to the ending date of the project if for any reason the project cannot be completed within the timeframe established in the grant;
  • The applicant must provide progress reports, with expenditures to date, two times per year;
  • All travel related meals & incidentals will be reimbursed at the Federal per diem rate and not based on actual expenditures;
  • Travel and other expenses must follow federal and state guidelines for use of federal funds, as defined by OMB Circular A-87, or other relevant policies.
Grantees must obtain prior approval from ODA if there is:
  • Any major revision of project scope or obectives after a project is funded;
  • Need to extend the project period;
  • Change in key persons associated with the project.
ODA reserves the right to:
  • Reject any or all proposals received;
  • Waive or modify minor irregularities in proposals received after prior notification and agreement of applicant;
  • Provide partial funding for specific proposal components that may be less than the full amount requested in the grant application;
  • Require a good faith effort from the project sponsor to work with ODA subsequent to project completion to develop reporting data or implement the project results, where applicable;
  • Withhold any payments that do not meet grant conditions.
  • Require return or refund of grant monies used for expenditures that are not allowed or unauthorized.
Grantees agree to comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws, codes, regulations, rules, and orders. The grant will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Oregon. Information submitted in grant proposals is subject to Oregon Public Records law, except where exemptions specified in ORS 192.501 may apply (trade secrets, etc.). Applicants should identify in their proposals any sections where exemptions may apply.
 
Grantees will be accountable for all grant funds awarded. Grantees shall maintain books, records, receipts, and accounting procedures and practices sufficient to reflect all costs claimed to have been incurred for the performance of the grant agreement. Interim and final reports shall document all grant expenditures. Grantees will make receipts, books, and records available for audit or examination by the Department of Agriculture or Secretary of State if requested. Records will be maintained for three years from end date of the project.



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Application Process

APPLICATION PROCEDURES AND REQUIREMENTS


 

Phase I, Concept Proposal

Now closed - Next Available - Janaury 2015

Phase II, Grant Proposal - Invite only - due May 9, 2014

Note:  Specific documents, requirements and instructions regarding Grant Proposals will be included in the Invitation to Submit Grant Proposals notification.

Submission Details

Submission
SUBMIT your Grant Proposal and letters of support through our website by clicking HERE.
To expedite your submission, submit your proposal prior to the May 9, 2014 deadline.  If you wait until the deadline to submit your proposal, you may experience unusually long wait times due to a high volume of users. ​

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Grant Proposal Review and Selection

Two-phase Competitive Process
The Oregon Specialty Crop Block Grant Program has a two-phase competitive solicitation process:
  • Phase I, Concept Proposal - Now closed - next available January 2015
  • Phase II, Grant Proposal  - Invite only due May 9, 2014
 

Phase II, Grant Proposal - Invite only

Note:  Specific documents, requirements and instructions regarding Grant Proposals will be included in the Invitation to Submit Grant Proposals notification.


Letters of Support
If you are submitting a concept proposal for a project that has multiple partner organizations or is a multi-state project, please attach a letter from the cooperating organizations indicating their participation and support of your proposal.
          
Submission 
SUBMIT your Grant Proposal and letters of support through our website by clicking HERE.
To expedite your submission, submit your proposal prior to the May 9, 2014 deadline.  If you wait until the deadline to submit your proposal, you may experience unusually long wait times due to a high volume of users. ​

 
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Contact Information

Please contact the ODA with any questions about the Specialty Crop Block Grant program:

Shannon Brubaker
Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Coordinator
1207 NW Naito Parkway, Suite 104; Portland, OR  97209
503-872-6617
sbrubaker@oda.state.or.us​

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Grant Applicant Resources

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