The Indiana State Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for the Specialty Crop Multistate Program. Funded by USDA, the grant program brings together multistate teams to research and develop solutions to problems that cross state boundaries within the specialty crop industry.

Specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops.

“Partnering with other states is an effective strategy when it comes to tackling larger, national issues, like food safety,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Indiana’s secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. “This grant allows us to pool our resources and remove barriers to growth affecting this important agricultural sector.”

To ensure collaboration, every project must include at least one out-of-state partner, whether it’s a state agency, tribal government, university, nonprofit or specialty crop organization. Priority will be given to proposals that address regional or national issues impacting the specialty crop sector, such as food safety, or plant pests and disease.

“Challenges facing the agriculture industry are rarely confined to one particular state,” said ISDA director Bruce Kettler. “They are often wide-ranging and very complex, which is why we need to work together when developing a solution.”

Projects must be completed within three years. The maximum award amount is $1 million, with a minimum award of $250,000. Grants will not be awarded to those that benefit a particular commercial product, or provide a profit to a single organization, institution or individual.

Proposals must be submitted by Aug. 1.

Producers may visit www.isda.in.gov to learn more about the Specialty Crop Multistate Program.