BISMARCK — Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has announced that applications are now being accepted for 2019's specialty crop grants.

North Dakota is expected to receive an allocation amount from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agriculture Marketing Service later this month or next month. The North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) will distribute the funds through a competitive grant program.

Eligible applications include enhancing food safety; pest and disease control; developing new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops; and increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops. Projects that directly benefit specific, commercial products or profit a single organization, institution or individual are not eligible.

An information manual with application instructions, scoring criteria and an application template can be found on NDDA's website.

Applications must be submitted in electronic form by 4 p.m. Thursday, March 8. An external review committee will review and score the applications. The successful applications will be forwarded to the USDA for final approval. The grants will be awarded in late fall or early winter.

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Projects funded by the grants start Oct. 1, 2019 and must be completed by Sept. 30, 2021.

For more information, contact Deanna Gierszewski at 701-328-2191 or scbg@nd.gov.