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2014 Specialty Crop Block Grant and Application

South Carolina Department of Agriculture

Hugh Weathers, Commissioner
Media Contact: Kelly Coakley, 803‐734‐2196,


COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture, Hugh E. Weathers, invites institutions and groups that support specialty crops within our state to submit applications for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Those interested in
participating in the program are encouraged to visit the South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) website,, to obtain the grant information and application.

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program – Farm Bill is administered by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). The program is committed to help strengthen the market for specialty crops. Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. SCDA will accept proposals for these funds through May 16, 2014.

SCDA encourages organizations to develop projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, sustain the livelihood of farmers, and strengthen local economies by:

• Increasing nutritional knowledge and specialty crop consumption
• Improving efficiency within the distribution system and reducing costs
• Promoting the development of good agricultural, handling and manufacturing
practices while encouraging audit cost‐sharing for small farmers, packers and
• Supporting research through standard and green initiatives
• Enhancing food safety
• Developing new/improved seed varieties and specialty crops
• Controlling pests and diseases
• Creating organic and sustainable production practices
• Establishing local and regional fresh food systems
• Expanding food access in underserved/food desert communities

Projects can be up to three years in duration. Projects must fall within the criteria as described in the application and must benefit groups of producers, not individuals. Funds cannot be used for capital expenditures such as buildings, equipment or land.

All project proposals should be submitted both electronically and physically to SCDA SCBGP Grant Administrator, at the addresses listed below. Proposals will be accepted until 5 p.m. Friday, May 16, 2014. All proposals must be submitted in Microsoft Word. Any proposals submitted in a PDF format will not be accepted for consideration. The project manager for each proposal will be notified by June 27, 2014 as to the status of their proposal eligibility. All communications will take place via email or letter.

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is authorized under Section 101 of the Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004 (7 U.S.C. 1621 note.) and amended under Section 10109 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, Public Law 110‐246 (the Farm Bill). SCBGP‐FB is currently implemented under 7 CFR Part 1291 (published March 27, 2009; 74 FR 13313).

All questions and proposals should be submitted to:

Amy Howard London
South Carolina Department of Agriculture
PO Box 11280
Columbia, SC 29211
Phone: (803) 734‐2210
Fax: (803) 734‐0325

Please note: The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program application follows this press







South Carolina Department of Agriculture
Wade Hampton Building, 5th Floor
P.O. Box 11280
Columbia, SC 29211
(803) 734-2210


Application – Federal Fiscal Year 2015 (Begins October 1, 2014)

Funded by:
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service
Fruit and Vegetable Program – Farm Bill


The Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004 (7 U.S.C. 1621 note) authorizes the USDA to provide grants to the state departments of agriculture to solely enhance the competitiveness of Specialty Crops. Each state submits an application (referred to as the State Plan) that is reviewed and approved by USDA AMS personnel. In an effort to reach specialty crop initiatives throughout the state, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture has established a competitive grant process for these funds. SCDA will accept proposals for these funds through May 16, 2014. Once all proposals are submitted to SCDA, each will be carefully reviewed and evaluated based on the criteria listed at

Definition of Specialty Crop
Specialty crops are defined by law as “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture
and nursery crops, including floriculture.” Specialty crops are plants that are intensively cultivated.

Project administrators may wish to consider submitting grants that increase the competitiveness of
specialty crop farmers, including Native American and disadvantaged farmers. Increasing
competitiveness may include developing local and rural agricultural economies, and improving food
access in underserved communities. Special consideration will be given to projects that:

• Increase child and adult nutritional knowledge and consumption of specialty crops
• Improve efficiency and reduce costs of distribution systems
• Assist all entities in the specialty crop distribution chain in developing “Good Agricultural Practices”, “Good Handling Practices”, “Good Manufacturing Practices”
• Invest in specialty crop research, including organic research to focus on conservation and environmental outcomes
• Enhance food safety
• Develop new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops; pest and disease control
• Develop organic and sustainable production practices
• Develop local and rural agricultural economies, and improve access of fresh fruits and vegetables in underserved communities
Restrictions and Limitations on Grant Funds
Applications will NOT be accepted for any of the following:
• Projects that solely benefit a particular commercial product or provide a profit to a single
institution or individual.
• Projects which replace, rather than supplement the expenditure of state funds
• Projects involving any lobbying activities pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 1352 including costs of membership in organizations substantially engaged in lobbying or political activities in accordance with provisions of the Hatch Act
• Capital expenditures for general purpose equipment, buildings, and land are unallowable as direct and indirect charges

o Capital Expenditures means expenditures for the acquisition cost of capital assets (equipment, buildings, land), or expenditures to make improvements to capital assets that materially increase their value or useful life. Acquisition cost means the cost of the asset including the cost to put it in place. Acquisition cost for equipment, for example, means the net invoice price of the equipment, including the cost of any modifications, attachments,
accessories, or auxiliary apparatus necessary to make it usable for the purpose for which it is acquired. Ancillary charges, such as taxes, duty, protective in transit insurance, freight and installation may be included in, or excluded from the acquisition cost in accordance with the governmental unit’s regular accounting practices.
o Capital expenditures for special purpose equipment are allowed as direct costs, provided that items with a unit cost of $5000 or more have the prior approval of AMS.
o General Purpose Equipment means equipment, which is not limited to research, scientific or other technical activities. Examples include office equipment and furnishings, telephone networks, information technology equipment and systems, reproduction and printing equipment, and motor vehicles.
o Equipment means an article of nonexpendable, tangible personal property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost which equals or exceeds $5000.00.

• Any project which is also funded by another federal grant program
• Any request for reimbursement of expenses for activities completed prior to submission and
approval of the application
• Requests to pay for “indirect costs” associated with a project
• Any request for reimbursement of travel expenses where the cost is over the State travel


Application Process

• Complete this form by either typing the information on the sheet provided or by completing the
form in Microsoft Word by downloading this document from the website
• One signed hard copy of the application must be sent via mail, express delivery or hand delivery
to the address below:
SCDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Manager
South Carolina Department of Agriculture
PO Box 11280
1200 Senate Street, 5th Floor, Wade Hampton Building
Columbia, SC 29201
• Applications should also be electronically submitted to
• Applications will only be accepted in Microsoft Word. Any applications submitted in a PDF
format will not be considered.
• All applications must be received by 5:00 PM on Friday, May 16, 2014 to be considered for this


Federal Requirements

• DUNS Number: All grantees are now required by USDA AMS to have a DUNS number. The Data
Universal Numbering System is a system developed and regulated by Duns & Bradstreet that
assigns a unique numeric identifier to a single business entity. This may be obtained online via
this website: or over the phone at 1-866-705-5711.
• CCR Registration: In addition to the DUNS number, all applicants must also be registered at the
Federal Central Contractor Registration (CCR) site:
• Should any awards in excess of $25,000 be given to a first tier sub-grantee with more than
$300,000 gross income in the previous tax year, the entity will be required to report all use of
funds on, in accordance with the Federal Funding Accountability and
Transparency Act Sub-award Reporting System.

Evaluation Criteria
Approval and scoring of applications will be based, in part, upon the following:

Specialty Agricultural Development Potential
• Needs Assessment and Market Opportunities
• Potential Impact
• Conveyance & Visualization
• Numbers of Farms/Farmers Served, Assisted or Trained
Technical Merit
• Thoroughness and clarity of Request
• Financial Feasibility and Project Readiness
• Ability to Match Funds
Significance to Long Term Sustainability of South Carolina Agriculture
• Regional, Statewide or Historical Significance
• Long Term Solutions
• Knowledge Transfer to Industry Stakeholders

The requests for funding will be reviewed and scored by a panel of peers based on the above criteria,
and then presented to the Commissioner of Agriculture for final approval.


Terms of the Grant
Funding for all projects will be granted for up to three years. All project managers will be required to
submit progress reports at 12 and 24 months. A cumulative final report is also required to be submitted
30 days after the expiration of the grant.

Award Administration
Acknowledgement of Support
An acknowledgement of the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program must appear in any publication
or any significant event based on this project. Terms should include “This project is supported in part by
the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, SCDA”.


Payment of Grant Funds
Upon final approval, all sub-grantees must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) stating that
funds will be used as described in the application. Funds are disbursed on a reimbursement basis and
upon submission of a payment request form and adequate supporting documentation. Payments will
be made within 30 days after receipt of properly completed reimbursement requests.


Reporting Requirements
Reporting requirements are project specific and based on the duration of the project. By signing the
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) the grantee agrees to accountability and reporting
requirements, including:

The First and Second Annual Performance Reports in the following format:
• Activities Performed
• Problems and Delays
• Future Project Plans
• Funding Expended to Date
• Additional Information The Final Report must be submitted in the following format:
• Project Summary
• Project Approach
• Goals and Outcomes Achieved
• Beneficiaries
• Lessons Learned

The failure to fulfill reporting requirements may be cause for withholding funding, withdrawal of funding
or possible rejection of future proposals. All financial reports must be submitted no later than 30 days
after the completion of the project.

The SCDA reserves the right, upon written notice, to withhold future payments after a specified date if
the recipient fails to comply with the conditions of the award, including reporting requirements.

Instructions for Completing Application
Each proposal should include each of the following sections. Complete ALL information requested.
Proposals that are incomplete and do not satisfy all the requirements are at risk of being disqualified
and returned to the proposing organization without review.

Remember: All proposals must be submitted in Microsoft Word. Any applications submitted in a PDF
format will not be considered.

Anticipated Award Announcement and Award Dates
The project administrator for each proposal will be notified by June 27, 2014, as to whether or not their
project will move forward for consideration by the USDA AMS personnel as part of the SCDA State Plan.
All communications will take place via email or letter.

Application for SCDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program — FY 2015

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