Grants Available to Enhance Wisconsin’s Specialty Crops

DATCP NEWS RELEASE: Grants Available to Enhance Wisconsin’s Specialty Crops

Release Date: January 19, 2012

Contact: Ashley Huibregtse, 608-224-5002,
Jim Dick, Communications Director, 608-224-5020,

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is now accepting applications for 2012 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funds. Non-profit organizations, producer organizations, government agencies, universities and other agricultural groups are encouraged to apply.

“DATCP is seeking applicants that will enhance the competitiveness of Wisconsin’s specialty crop industries in domestic and foreign markets,” said Juli Speck, a DATCP Grants Specialist. “Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funds are to be used to benefit the specialty crop industry as a whole and not provide direct profit to a specific organization, institution or individual.”

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill) authorized the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide grants to states for fiscal years 2008 through 2012. Specialty crops are defined in law as: fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. A more comprehensive list of eligible specialty crops is available at

Priorities for 2012 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funding include:

●  Specialty crop research especially environmental sustainability, pest and disease control, and varietal improvement.

●  Assistance in developing “Good Agricultural Practices,” “Good Handling Practices” and “Good Manufacturing Practices” for an industry.

●  Increasing the demand for and supply of locally-produced foods in Wisconsin.

●  Industry innovation in production, processing and packaging.

●  Education to increase the consumption of Wisconsin specialty crops.

“The larger the impact of the project, the more likely it will be funded through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program,” concluded Speck. “Applicants may submit more than one project application, and applications that build on a previously funded project are also welcome.”

Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funds will be distributed through a competitive review process. Selected applications will be included into one Wisconsin state plan and submitted to the USDA for final approval. In anticipation of receiving funds, projects would be approved and could start in fall 2012.

Visit for eligibility requirements and application materials. Applications are due to DATCP by 4:30 p.m. on April 2, 2012. Optional grant writing workshops for potential applicants are planned for February and March 2012.

For more information, contact Speck at or 608-224-5134. You can also connect with DATCP on Twitter at or Facebook at



Farm-to-School Coordinator Opportunity

From the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, Consumer Protection (DATCP):

DATCP NEWS RELEASE: DATCP Seeking Sites for AmeriCorps Farm to School

Release Date: January 18, 2012

Contact: Ashley Huibregtse, 608-224-5002,
Jim Dick, Communications Director, 608-224-5020,

MADISON – Promote healthy eating habits, decrease childhood obesity and increase access to local foods in schools by applying now to be an AmeriCorps Farm to School partner-site. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) encourages schools, school districts, organizations, state agencies, and universities to complete an application to be a partner-site.

“AmeriCorps Farm to School aims to build healthy communities by providing educational activities to students and connecting schools with local farmers and food businesses,” said Camilla Vargas, the Program Manager at DATCP. “DATCP is now seeking partner-sites to host AmeriCorps members during the 2012-2013 school year.”

DATCP currently has 17 AmeriCorps members at seven partner-sites impacting 22 school districts. In anticipation of receiving funding, DATCP plans to expand the program with additional partner-sites.

Each partner-site would receive, at least, two half-time AmeriCorps members. A half-time community outreach member would serve as the main liaison between the schools and community. A half-time nutrition education member would focus on building relationships with teachers, school administrators, and students.

Partner-sites must commit to the following responsibilities:

●  Assist with recruitment and hiring of members for your site.

●  Identify an on-site supervisor for the members.

●  Provide orientation, workspace, and supplies to your members.

●  Assist with the creation of a local Farm to School task force.

●  Contribute $5,500 per full-time member and $2,000 per half-time member as a cash match.

●  Obtain evaluation forms to measure impact and success of the program.

Preference will be given to partner-sites that can outline other non-cash grant matches, provide room and/or board for members, show strong partnerships in the community, demonstrate strong supervisor dedication, or document a strong need. DATCP provides management of the program including training.

On January 25, 2012, there will be a Wisconsin Farm to School Summit in Delavan showcasing current efforts, new resources available and upcoming opportunities. The day will include poster displays, speakers and breakout sessions. Registration materials can be found at

“I encourage potential partner-sites to attend the Wisconsin Farm to School Summit to learn more about the possibilities available for your community through AmeriCorps Farm to School,” added Vargas. “Farm to School has the potential to stimulate the economy through increased local food sales and change students’ lives by promoting healthy lifelong habits.”

In order to be considered as a partner-site, a Notice of Intent to Apply is due by 4:30 p.m. on March 16, 2012. The Official Request for Partnership Form is due by 4:30 p.m. on April 20, 2012. While the Notice of Intent to Apply is not mandatory, it is encouraged so planning can begin.

To learn more about AmeriCorps Farm to School or find application materials, visit . For questions or more information, contact Vargas at 608-224-5117 or You can also connect with DATCP on Twitter at or Facebook at   ###