The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) is a USDA-funded program administered by WVDA that provides money for research projects that will benefit an industry or a group. It is not intended as a source of start-up or scale-up funding for individual farms.

The purpose of the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) is to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Specialty crops are defined as “fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).”

Grant are on a two-year cycle in West Virginia and the maximum amount for any grant is $100,000.

Links

2021 Specialty Crop Block Grant RFA
2021 Specialty Crop Block Grant Application Packet
USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

2020 Specialty Crop Block Awardees

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the recipients of the 2020 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP). Six West Virginia projects will share in $248,433 of federal funding. The money will used to enhance the production, processing and consumption of specialty crops in West Virginia. Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. FY 20 total funding requests were $1,064,174.54 from WV organizations, agencies and institutions. The USDA awarded $72.4 million to 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories. Grant recipients have three years to plan, implement and gather data on their respective projects.

Name: Evaluation of Asparagus as a U-Pick Commercial Crop for West Virginia
Recipient: West Virginia University (WVU) Research Corporation
Location: Berkeley and Hardy Counties
Award: $16,605.88
Summary: WVU Extension will evaluate new hybrid varieties of asparagus for commercial U-Pick marketing in West Virginia. In addition, production practices which extend the traditional harvest season will be investigated to determine how the harvest season can be synchronized with U-Pick strawberries at two commercial farms in West Virginia.

Name: Improved Bitter Pit Management on Honey Crisp Apple in WV Orchards to Facilitate Better Marketing”
Recipient: West Virginia University (WVU) Research Corporation
Location: Hampshire County
Award: $25,000.00
Summary: West Virginia University Extension Service in cooperation with apple growers in the eastern panhandle of WV will demonstrate new technology to minimize bitter pit on ‘Honeycrisp’ apple by setting on-farm trials and disseminating results to stakeholders through growers’ twilight meetings and field days.

Name: Crowdsourcing to Enhance Adoption of Produce Safety Applications
Recipient: West Virginia State University Extension Service (WVSUES)
Location: Fayette, Hardy, Ohio & Wayne Counties
Award: $28,301.00
Summary: West Virginia State University Extension Service (WVSUES) will enhance specialty crop production among limited resource farmers through training, implementation and crowdsourcing of data relevant to strengthening participation in precooling methods to mitigate field heat and initiate a cold chain on the farm.

Name: WV Log Grown Shiitake Mushrooms: Enhancing Training and Producer Networks Across the State
Recipient: West Virginia University (WVU) Research Corporation
Location: Barbour, Cabell, Wayne, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Mercer, Mineral, Monongalia, Nicholas, Fayette, Brooke, Marshall, Preston, Summers, Roane, Taylor, Tucker, Tyler, and Wetzel Counties.
Award: $61,701.00
Summary: WVU DFNR in partnership with WVU ES-ANR will expand the production of log-grown shiitake mushroom across the state and will increase the transparency, number, and strength of shiitake mushroom grower networks. Beginning shiitake mushroom production workshops will be held in 20 counties throughout the state.

Name: Enhancing Specialty Crop Competitiveness in WV Craft Beverage Production
Recipient: Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) Marshall University
Location: Statewide
Award: $42,298.00
Summary: To stand out in the ever-growing and competitive craft beer and spirits market and to fill a consumer need for specialty products, bottlers are more regularly utilizing specialty crops to make their product stand out in the field. Building from its ARC-funded craft beer and spirits trail feasibility study, the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) proposes to connect farmers to bottlers in need of specialty crops and enhance the agricultural ecosystem within the state of West Virginia.

Name: Improving Vintage Tomato Varieties with Pest Resistance to Enhance WV Grower Success and Profitability
Recipient: West Virginia State University Research and Development Corporation
Location: Statewide
Award: $74,527.19
Summary: West Virginia State University Research and Development Corporation will improve three vintage tomato lines by incorporating modern pest resistances while maintaining the plant and fruit type of the vintage line. This will be done by conventional backcross breeding the resistance(s) into the vintage lines followed by selecting progeny with the desired resistances using molecular markers.