DATCP: Workshops planned to assist in completing specialty crop block grant applications

Contact: Ashley Huibregtse, 608-224-5002

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) encourages those interested in applying for the Specialty Crop Block Grants to attend one of two planned workshops for assistance in completing the application. Workshops are planned for February in Wausau and Madison.

Dates and locations for the workshops are:

* Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the State Patrol Facility, 2805 Martin Avenue, Wausau

* Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at DATCP, Board Room, 2811 Agriculture Drive, Madison

DATCP is currently accepting applications for the Specialty Crop Block Grant program. Last year, DATCP awarded over $943,000 in Specialty Crop Block Grants to 23 projects. The Farm, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill) authorized the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide these competitive grants to benefit the specialty crop industry.

Interested individuals need to register for these free workshops by contacting Speck at [email protected] or 608-224-5134. Participants should come to the workshop with an idea for a proposal they plan to submit. To confirm the project is eligible for the Specialty Crop Block Grant funding, individuals should verify their idea by reading the guidelines at datcp.wisconsin.gov, under Farms, Crops and Specialty Crops.

During the workshop, Juli Speck, DATCP’s Grant Specialist, will guide participants through each step of the grant writing process. Speck will discuss tips on creating strong proposals.

Applications are due by 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 15, 2011. Local, tribal and state government entities, private and non-profit organizations and institutions, and public and private colleges and universities are encouraged to apply.

Specialty crops include: fruits, vegetables, culinary herbs and spices, medicinal plants, tree nuts, flowers, and nursery plants. A complete list of acceptable crops is available at: http://www.ams.usdad.gov/scbgp.

Eligible projects should benefit the impacted specialty crop industry, rather than only an individual applicant. The Status of Wisconsin Agriculture 2011, issued by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Wisconsin-Extension, explained that specialty crop production in Wisconsin adds over $1 billion in economic activity each year and 9,900 jobs. Processing of specialty crops contributes an additional $5 billion in economic activity and almost 25,000 jobs to Wisconsin.

For complete application materials, visit datcp.wisconsin.gov, under Farms, Crops and Specialty Crops.