November 10, 2011
USDA recently released the Request for Applications (RFA) for the fiscal year 2012 round of funding for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI). This competitive grants program is entering its fifth and final year of funding under the current farm bill cycle. The program is administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
SCRI was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill and makes approximately $47.3 million available each year to eligible academic and research institutions to conduct research and extension projects on fruits, vegetables and other non-commodity crops. SCRI is authorized to receive $230 million in mandatory funding from 2008 to 2012, and has invested over $165 million dollars to date in research to promote increased productivity, increased resilience and develop innovative technologies for the specialty crop industry.
The specialty crop industry as a whole produces half of the value of the entire agricultural sector in the United States. The 2008 Farm Bill established funding for specialty crops for the first time, primarily through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and SCRI. SCRI has funded over one hundred research projects and planning grants to date that utilize a systems approach to finding effective, long-term solutions to problems facing the specialty crop industry today.
NSAC has advocated to continue funding for this much needed research program in the ongoing farm bill debates, and is encouraging Congress to reauthorize SCRI and restoring mandatory funding through 2017. Click here to see a letter that NSAC recently signed on to, which advocates for mandatory funding for SCRI as well as the Organic Research and Extension Initiative and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program in the Research Title of the 2012 Farm Bill.
Anyone interested in applying for an SCRI project grant is required to submit a letter of intent by November 25, 2011 and a formal application through USDA’s online application process by January 31, 2012.
For more information on the application requirements and program contact details, click here.