Grants of up to $50,000 to individuals in Agriculture to help improve the specialty crop industry. Focus areas include research, food safety, nutrition education, disease, and pest control, and food access to veterans and to underserved communities.
The USDA defines specialty crops as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture). Through funding provided for under the Farm Bill and managed by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funds projects that solely enhance the competitiveness of Delaware’s specialty crop industry.
Projects should benefit the specialty crop industry as a whole and be able to provide a positive impact with measurable outcomes. The Delaware Department of Agriculture looks for grant projects that solely increase the competitiveness of Delaware grown specialty crops in regards to the following priorities specified by the USDA:
- Enhancing food safety;
- Food safety compliance to address specialty crop buyer requirements for mitigating food safety risks.
- Investing in specialty crop research, including research to focus on conservation and environmental outcomes;
- Developing new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops;
- Pest and disease control;
- Increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops;
- Increasing opportunities for new and beginning farmers;
- Improving efficiency and reducing costs of distribution systems;
- Protecting and improving pollinator health;
- Developing local and regional food systems; and
- Improving food access in underserved communities and among veterans.
- Increasing urban agriculture and other emerging agricultural practices by bringing food production into busy, populated areas – such as vertical gardens, shipping container farms, rooftop farming, hydroponics, community gardens, community composting, and food waste reduction.
Examples of Acceptable Projects
- A State requests funding to contract with a university to conduct research on the feasibility of planting, cultivating, and growing a specialty crop in a particular area, the results of which will be shared with many growers throughout the state during the project.
- A single grower requests funds to demonstrate the viability of organic small fruit production and partners with Cooperative Extension to publicize the working model of diversification to other regional growers.
- A single company requests funds to provide a viable pollination alternative to specialty crop stakeholders in a region that currently does not have one.
- A non-profit organization requests funds to conduct an advertising campaign that will benefit their specialty crop members.
- A single farmer erects high tunnels on his/her property to extend the growing season of tomatoes and lettuce and conducts a field day and farm tour to encourage other small family farmers to adopt the production methods.
Please visit for a comprehensive list of eligible specialty crops and ineligible commodities under the SCBGP.