Specialty Crop Block Grant Program - Farm Bill
CSFA Number: 406-32-0039
Agency Name
Department Of Agriculture (406)
Agency Contact
Nicole Moore
Short Description
The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) assists the Illinois Department of Agriculture to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops by—
(1) leveraging efforts to market and promote specialty crops;
(2) assisting producers with research and development relevant to specialty crops;
(3) expanding availability and access to specialty crops; and
(4) addressing local, regional, and national challenges confronting specialty crop producers.
Specialty crops are fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture). The Illinois Department of Agriculture is the agency, commission, or department of the State government responsible for agriculture within Illinois.
Subject Area
Economic Development
Program Function
Enabling Legislation
Legislative authority is provided under section 101 of the Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004 (7 U.S.C. §1621 note) and amended under section 10107 of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Public Law 115-343 (the Farm Bill). SCBGP is currently implemented under 7 CFR § 1291 (published March 27, 2009; 74 FR 13313).
Objectives and Goals
To expand the availability of fresh, locally-grown produce and strengthen the state's specialty crop industry.
Types of Assistance
Project Grants
Uses and Restrictions
Applications should describe how the proposed project would impact and produce measurable outcomes for the betterment of the specialty crop industry and/or the general public. The program will not award funds for projects that solely benefit a particular commercial product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution or individual.

The following are examples of eligible 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
can be shared with many growers throughout the State.

• 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 specialty crop organization requests funds to conduct an advertising campaign that will
benefit their specialty crop members.

• A single company requests funds to provide a viable pollination alternative to specialty crop
stakeholders in the region, which currently does not have one.

• A single farmer erects high tunnels on their 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.

The following are examples of ineligible projects:

• A company requests grant funds to purchase starter plants or equipment used to plant, cultivate, and grow a specialty crop to make a profit or to expand production of a single business or organization.

• A single specialty crop organization requests grant funds to market its organization so that it can increase its membership.
Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible for grant funding, an applicant must submit a proposal that "enhances the competitiveness of Illinois-grown specialty crops in domestic or foreign markets."

Priority is given to projects that:
• enhance food safety;
• assist all entities in the specialty crop distribution chain in developing “Good Agricultural
"Practices," “Good Handling Practices,” “Good Manufacturing Practices,” and in cost-share
arrangements for funding audits of such systems for small farmers; packers and processors;
• invest in specialty crop research, including research to focus on conservation and
environmental outcomes;
• develop new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops;
• improve pest and disease control to advance organic and sustainable production practices;
• increase child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops;
• improve the efficiency and reduce costs of distribution systems;
• develop local and regional food systems; and
• improve food access in underserved communities.
Eligible Applicants
Individuals; Education Organizations; Small Businesses; For-Profit Organizations; Nonprofit Organizations; Government Organizations;
Application and Award Processing
Grants are awarded through a competitive review process that includes the use of an independent committee of stakeholders from the agricultural community.

The proposals selected are submitted to the United State Department of Agriculture for final approval as part of Illinois’ State Plan Application.

If approved by the USDA for funding, the organization responsible for the successful project and
the Department enter into a grant agreement. By signing the document, the grantee agrees to:

1) execute all aspects of the grant agreement according to applicable state and federal
regulations (or as they may be later revised) and successive published regulations as
2) complete activities outlined in the approved proposal, any approved revisions
thereto, and the approved project budget; and
3) adhere to the SCBGP-FB Award Terms and Conditions as set forth within the grant agreement.
Assistance Consideration
The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program does not have a cost-sharing or matching requirement.
Post Assistance Requirements
Quarterly and final reports are required for all projects. Annual reports also are required if a project spans more than one year. Grantees who do not submit the reports, or who submit incomplete reports, may have funds withheld or be required to return previously distributed funds. Grantees must maintain adequate books, records and supporting documents to verify the expenditure of all grant funds for a minimum of three years after the submission of their final report.
Regulations, Guidelines, Literature
Program guidelines are published in the Proposal Submission Guide, which is included in application packets and made available free of charge on the department's website at www.agr.state.il.us/grants.
Funding By Fiscal Year
FY 2016 : $604,158
FY 2017 : $522,008
FY 2018 : $551,272
FY 2019 : $690,930
FY 2020 : $712,443
Federal Funding
Notice of Funding Opportunities
Agency IDAward RangeApplication Range
DetailsSC-19Not Applicable03/15/2018 - 04/18/2018 : 4 p.m.
DetailsSC-20Not Applicable03/29/2019 - 04/26/2019 : 5:00 pm
DetailsUSDA-AMS-TM-SCBGP-G-20-0003Not Applicable03/20/2020 - 04/20/2020 : 4:00pm
Agency IDGrantee NameStart DateEnd DateAmount
SC-19-07Southern Illinois University01/01/201909/30/2021107,197
SC-19-05University of Illinois01/01/201909/30/202193,755
SC-19-13University of Illinois01/01/201909/30/202180,888
SC-19-02University of Illinois01/01/201909/30/202140,563