Specialty Crop Block Grant Program


Definition of Specialty Crops

The Specialty Crop Competitiveness Act of 2004 and the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 have defined specialty crops as "fruits and vegetables, peas and lentils, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture)."

Eligible plants must be intensively cultivated and used by people for food, medicinal purposes, and/or aesthetic gratification to be considered specialty crops. Processed products shall constitute greater than 50% of the specialty crop by weight, exclusive of added water.

Eligible Entities

Entities eligible for applying for SCBG funds are:

  • state and/or local organizations
  • government entities
  • producer associations
  • academia
  • community based organizations
  • other specialty crop stakeholders.

Eligible Projects

To be eligible for a grant, the project(s) must "solely enhance the competitiveness of U.S. or U.S. territory grown specialty crops in either domestic or foreign markets." Projects must also benefit more than one commercial product (e.g., ABC Company brand), organization, or individual.

Examples of enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops include, but are not limited to: research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, plant health programs, education, "buy local" programs, increased consumption, increased innovation, improved efficiency and reduced costs of distribution systems, environmental concerns and conservation, product development, and developing cooperatives.

MDA encourages applicants to develop projects that solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops pertaining to the following issues affecting the specialty crop industry:

  • increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops;
  • improving efficiency and reducing costs of distribution systems;
  • assisting all entities in the specialty crop distribution chains in developing "Good Agricultural Practices", "Good Handling Practices", "Good Manufacturing Practices", and in cost-share arrangements for funding audits of such systems for small farmers, packers and processors;
  • investing in specialty crop research, including research to focus on conservation and environmental outcomes;
  • enhancing food safety;
  • developing new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops;
  • pest and disease control; and
  • development of organic and sustainable production practices.

Montana Ineligible Crops

Alfalfa Eggs Quinoa
Barley Flax Range Grasses
Buckwheat Hay Safflower
Canola Livestock Products Soybeans
Canola Oil Millet Sugar Beets
Dairy Products Oats Triticale

Montana Eligible Crops: Fruits

Apple Gooseberry Plum (including Prune)
Apricot Grape (including Raisin) Raspberry
Blackberry Nectarine Strawberry
Blueberry Peach  
Cherry Pear  

Montana Eligible Crops: Vegetables

Artichoke Cucumber Parsnip
Asparagus Edamame Pepper
Bean Eggplant Potato
Snap or Green Endive Pulse Crops
Lima Garlic Pumpkin
Dry, Edible Horseradish Radish (all types)
Beet, Table Kohlrabi Rhubarb
Broccoli (including Broccoli Raab) Leek Rutabaga
Brussel Sprouts Legumes Salsify
Cabbage (including Chinese) Lentil Spinach
Carrot Lettuce Squash (Summer and Winter)
Cauliflower Melon (all types) Sweet Corn
Celeriac Mushroom (Cultivated) Swiss Chard
Celery Mustard and other greens Tomato (including Tomatillo)
Chive Pea Turnip
Collards (including Kale) Garden, English or Edible Pod Watermelon
Onion Parsley  

Montana Eligible Crops: Culinary Herbs & Spices

Ajwain Cinnamon Mace
Allspice Clary Mahlab
Angelica Cloves Malabathrum
Anise Comfrey Marjoram
Annatto Common Rue Mint (all types)
Artemisia (all types) Coriander Nutmeg
Asafetida Cress Oregano
Basil (all types) Cumin Orris Root
Bay (Cultivated) Curry Parika
Bladder Wrack Dill Parsley
Bolivian Coriander Fennel Pepper
Borage Fenugreek Rocket (Arugula)
Calendula Filé (Gumbo, Cultivated) Rosemary
Chamomile Fingerroot Rue
Candle Nut French Sorrel Saffron
Caper Galangal Sage (all types)
Caraway Ginger Savory (all types)
Cardamom Hops Tarragon
Cassia Horehound Thyme
Catnip Hysspo Turmeric
Chervil Lavender Vanilla
Chicory Lemon Balm Wasabi
Cicely Lemon Thyme Water Cress
Cilantro Lovage  

Montana Eligible Crops: Medicinal Herbs

Artemisia Goat's Rue Senna
Arum Goldenseal Skullcap
Astragalus Gypsywort Sonchus
Boldo Horehound Sorrel
Buena Horsetail Stevia
Cananga Lavender Urtica
Comfrey Liquorice Witch Hazel
Coneflower Marshmallow Wood Betony
Fenugreek Mullein Wormwood
Feverfew Passion Flower Yarrow
Foxglove Patchouli Yerba
Gingko Biloba Pennyroyal  
Ginseng Pokeweed  

Montana Eligible Crops: Nursery, Floriculture & Horticulture Crops

Horticulture: Honey, Hops, Turfgrass Carnation Broadleaf Evergreens
Annual Bedding Plants: Flowers and Vegetables Cut Cultivated Greens Deciduous Shade Trees
Potted Flowering Plants Foliage Plants Landscape Conifers
Potted Herbaceous Plants Christmas Trees Deciduous Shrubs
Cut Flowers Deciduous Flowering Trees