Monday, February 6, 2017
Grant Funding Available to Expand New Mexico Agriculture
Grant Funding Available to Expand New Mexico Agriculture The New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) is inviting New Mexicans involved in agricultural production to apply for one of two funding grant programs. The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (Specialty Crops) is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). NMDA serves as the fiscal agent for New Mexico’s share of the federal funding. This program aims to enhance the competitiveness of New Mexico-grown specialty crops. “Chile, onions, pecans, honey, greenhouse/nursery crops, lavender – they’re all examples of specialty crops, which means research, education, or marketing and promotion projects built around them could be considered for this federal funding,” said Felicia Frost, the NMDA marketing specialist who administers New Mexico’s share of the federal funds. The definition and eligibility of specialty crops can be found at www.ams.usda.gov, under the services, and grant & opportunities section. The deadline to apply for funding through the Specialty Crops program is 5 p.m. MST on April 10, 2017. Funding is expected to become available on October 1, 2017. Project length for this program varies from one to three years. The Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP) is also funded by USDA. This program provides assistance to any size of agricultural entity, in order to explore new marketing opportunities and to encourage research and innovation that will benefit multiple producers or agribusinesses. The goal of the FSMIP is to improve the efficiency and performance of the agricultural marketing system in the U.S. Applicants may do this by focusing on addressing barriers, overcoming challenges or realizing opportunities manifesting at any stage of the marketing chain including direct, wholesale and retail. NMDA’s deadline to apply for funding through the FSMIP is 5 p.m. MST on March 1, 2017. Funding is also expected to become available October 1, 2017. “Proposals to both grant programs are given greater consideration when they have what it takes to succeed beyond the life of the grant – in other words, if they make good business sense in the long term,” said Frost. The programs prohibit the use of grant funds for projects that potentially will benefit only one person or entity and cannot be used to purchase land, buildings, equipment, or any other type of capital improvement. Funds are paid on a reimbursement basis – meaning they’re released only after the grantee has submitted a progress report, as well as an invoice and corresponding receipts. Frost and other NMDA staff are hosting two free workshops for potential applicants to understand these grant programs and how to apply for them. The workshops will be: Santa Fe: February 16 from 2 to 4 p.m., location TBD, check NMDA web page for updates. Las Cruces: February 21 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., at the NMDA (Main Conference Room), 3190 S. Espina St. For more information on these grant opportunities, as well as the workshops, call 575‑646-4929 or visit www.nmda.nmsu.edu.