On Thursday, June 11, 2009, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced in a press release that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) is eligible to receive $242,767 through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.
The grant funds are designed to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.
To ensure that funds are used in the most efficient manner possible, the Department is encouraging specialty crop stakeholders to submit public comment to identify their priorities for the program. IDALS is also establishing a new Review Committee to help review, evaluate, and make recommendations on grant proposals submitted to the Department.
Iowans interested in submitting comments on the priorities for the program can do so online by emailing HorticultureAndFarmersMarkets@IowaAgriculture.gov or by mail to Horticulture and Farmers Market Bureau, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, 502 East 9th, Des Moines, Iowa, 50319.
Those interested in participating in the Review Committee should have knowledge of specialty crops, and/or grant writing or grant management experience, and the ability to devote the necessary time to complete the review process.
Reviewer applications are due by June 26, 2009 by 4:00 p.m. Additional information about reviewer responsibilities, meeting dates and an application form can be found here.