MANHATTAN – The Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) is accepting applications for the 2016 Specialty Crop Block Grant program. Funds for the program are awarded to the agency by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service. The funds are in turn granted to projects and organizations that promote the competitiveness of specialty crops.

The purpose of the specialty crop program is to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Specialty crops are defined by the USDA as “fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops (including floriculture).” This opportunity supports the KDA’s mission of providing an environment that enhances and encourages economic growth of the agriculture industry in Kansas.

In 2015, Kansas received $319,420 for the grant program. Kansas is expected to receive approximately $284,000 in 2016.

Applications will be evaluated by a team of external reviewers. The team will rate proposals on their ability to successfully promote specialty crops in Kansas and to make a positive impact on the Kansas economy. Those recommendations will be submitted to the Kansas Secretary of Agriculture, who will make the final awards.

Applications are due to KDA no later than 5 p.m. on May 16. For more information and to download the 2016 application, go to