WVDA accepting requests for specialty crop block grant applications

WVDA accepting requests for specialty crop block grant applications
Specialty crops reach the market in West Virginia. (Photo courtesy Ja Ma)

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture is now seeking requests for applications for 2020 specialty crop block grants. Funds awarded are used to enhance the production, processing, and consumption of specialty crops in West Virginia.


State Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt called the capital access program vital.

“One of the largest barriers to small business development is access to capital," Leonhardt said. "This is even more true for agriculture-based businesses.

“The goal of these grants is to bridge that capital gap by either conducting research or finding ways to expand markets for specialty crop businesses.”


The state Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered by the state department.

Recipients have two years to plan, implement and gather data on their respective projects. Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.

"For West Virginia agriculture and the state’s economy to move forward, we must think small. Focusing on how we develop niche markets to diversify our economy will be key to West Virginia’s future. We encourage anyone who has a unique idea on how to do just that to apply,” Leonhardt said.

There are two changes for fiscal year 2020 grants. First, the floor and ceiling for grant funding have been adjusted to $15,000 and $100,000 respectively.


Second, projects will run for two-year cycles instead of the previous three-year cycles.

The USDA awarded $72.4 million to 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories. The WVDA anticipates receiving approximately $270,000, from which multiple grants will be awarded.

Applications are due January 8, 2020. Application, instructions, and other information can be found here.

For more information, contact Leslie Boggess at lboggess@wvda.us or 304-558-2210

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