Workshops announced for New Mexico specialty crops funding

If you have a specialty crop, you may be eligible for federal funding as part of the Specialty Crops Block Grant Program. The New Mexico Department of Agriculture has announced three workshops to assist growers and processors with the application process.

The workshops will be held as follows:

Jan. 22, 3 to 4 p.m. in Espanola at Angelina’s Restaurant, located at 1126 N. Railroad Ave;

Jan. 24, noon to 1 p.m. in Albuquerque at the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce, located at 1309 4th Street SW; and

Jan. 26, 3 to 4 p.m. in Las Cruces at NMDA, located at 3190 South Espina.

Meals will not be provided at any of the workshops. Registration is not necessary. NMDA staff will review the program, timeline and application process in detail. Attendees are encouraged to have a project in mind so options may be discussed.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service provides grants to state departments of agriculture solely to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in either domestic or foreign markets. Increasing competitiveness may include developing local and rural food systems, improving food access in underserved communities, specialty crop research, feasibility studies, marketing projects and much more.

Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.

The funding cycle begins Sept. 29, and grant funds are disbursed on a reimbursement basis only. Funds cannot be awarded to projects that solely benefit a particular commercial product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution or individual.

Previously funded projects range from one-to-three years in length and vary in amounts from $15,000 to over $100,000.

Funds may not be used for the following:

Capital expenditures—equipment, buildings, land—or expenditures to make improvements to capital assets that materially increase their value or useful life;

General purpose equipment—equipment not limited to research, scientific or other technical activities; and

Equipment—an article of nonexpendable, tangible personal property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost equal to or greater than $1,000.

Proposals must be submitted to NMDA via email by 5 p.m. March 1 using the template to be provided by NMDA at under competitive grant programs. Projects may begin Sept. 29, as long as a sub-award is in place.

For more information, please contact NMDA Marketing Specialists Felicia Frost or Sarah Hacker at [email protected] or 575-646-4929.