Grants Available to Help Farmers, Agribusinesses With Marketing, Research and Sales

More than $300,000 in federal grant funding is now available for projects to help produce, market or access Delaware-grown fruit, vegetables and certain other crops. The Delaware Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program through June 3.

The program, funded through the federal Farm Bill, covers products known as specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. Projects may run for one to three years. Grants are available between $5,000 and $50,000.

Applications must be submitted by agricultural producers, nonprofit organizations, government entities, for-profit companies or educational institutions based in Delaware or with a business or educational affiliation here. Funding cannot be used for field crops, such as corn and soybeans, or animal agriculture.

An informational grant workshop will be held 5 p.m. April 26 at the Delaware Department of Agriculture, 2320 South DuPont Highway, Dover.

Past Delaware projects have included research on heat-tolerant lima bean varieties, work to improve sales of local produce in Wilmington, efforts to expand a community-supported agriculture program, research on blueberry varieties, and advertising to promote locally run farm stands.

Applications are available at, or from DDA marketing specialist JoAnn Walston at 302-698-4592 or Applications must be received by 4:30 p.m. June 3. A review team will rank applications for a final decision.

Other grants are available directly from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help support farmers, agribusinesses, farm stands, farmers’ markets, and other ventures:

The Farmers Market Promotion Program funds direct-to-consumer projects, and is not limited to community-run farmers’ markets. Deadline is May 12; contact USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, 202-720-0933, or visit

The Local Food Promotion Program helps businesses with processing, distribution or storage of food products. Deadline is May 12; contact USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, 202-720-2731, or visit

The Value Added Producer Grant program assists farmers, cooperatives or businesses with processing or marketing of value-added products. Deadline is June 24; contact Letitia Nichols, USDA Rural Development, 302-857-3628, or visit