MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) is accepting grant applications for projects that enhance the competitiveness of U.S. specialty crops in foreign and domestic markets. The application deadline for these specialty crop block grants through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is March 15, 2024, 5:00 p.m. CST.

Specialty crops are defined by USDA as fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, horticulture (including maple syrup and honey) and nursery crops (including floriculture).

Commodity groups, agricultural organizations, colleges and universities, municipalities, state agencies and agricultural nonprofits are all eligible for this grant program, provided their proposals meet all the program specifications. ADAI and a review committee of industry representatives will make application evaluation reviews and award recommendations to USDA. USDA has final approval for projects submitted.

The specialty crops block grant is a competitive grant process. The minimum amount awarded is $5,000. The maximum award to commodity groups, agriculture organizations, municipalities and agriculture nonprofits applicants is $25,000; the maximum amount for colleges and universities is $40,000.

“The specialty crop industry in Alabama continues to grow as the demand for locally grown food increases. These grants provide funding on research to enhance the quality and quantity of specialty crops and to develop new marketing opportunities,” said Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Rick Pate. “The department looks forward to implementing this program, which not only benefits specialty crop producers but consumers as well.”

Please contact Johnny Blackmon at 334-240-7257 or by email at for more information. Additional information may be found at and

Projects cannot begin until official agreements are signed, which is expected October 2024.