The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA), beginning Feb. 15, will seek project proposals from Indiana’s specialty crop sector for funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

“Specialty crops are big business in Indiana.” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. “This unique sector is quite large in Indiana, after all 80% of our state is farmland and forests. We are excited to use this federal funding to bolster our large specialty crop sector and research initiatives.”

The USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program offers federal funding annually to state departments of agriculture to support their specialty crop industries. This year, Indiana’s allocation is $484,966.

Eligible projects must enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in Indiana, defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops. 

Funding will not be awarded to projects that benefit a particular commercial product, or provide a profit to a single organization, institution or individual. Each project must identify at least one of the new USDA performance measures that specifically demonstrate the project’s impact on enhancing the competitiveness of eligible specialty crops.

ISDA is seeking projects that have objectives such as: increasing consumption and consumer purchasing, increasing access and distribution, increasing food safety knowledge and processing, developing new seed varieties and improving environmental sustainably, among other things. Click here or visit to see the full list of performance measures.

ISDA and USDA encourage applications that benefit smaller farms, new and beginning farmers, underserved producers, veteran producers and underserved communities.

Applications open on Feb. 15, 2023 and are due by 12:00 p.m. ET on March 10, 2023. Proposals must be submitted online through the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s Grants Management System. Indiana Specialty Crop Block Grant application resources are located on ISDA’s Grants and Funding Opportunities website.

For more information, click here. For a full list of eligible specialty crops please click here.