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CSREES Anticipates Specialty Crop Research Initiative Funding Opportunity

Jennifer Martin, (202) 720-8188
June 16, 2008

Section 7311 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-234) established a specialty crop research and extension initiative to address the critical needs of the specialty crop industry. The term "specialty crop" means fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and nursery crops (including floriculture).

The Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) will support the specialty crop industry by developing and disseminating science-based tools to address needs of specific crops and their regions in five legislatively mandated focus areas, including:

1. Research in plant breeding, genetics, and genomics to improve crop characteristics;
2. Efforts to identify and address threats from pests and diseases, including threats to specialty crop pollinators;
3. New innovations and technology, including improved mechanization and technologies that delay or inhibit ripening;
4. Efforts to improve production efficiency, productivity, and profitability over the long term (including specialty crop policy and marketing); and
5. Methods to prevent, detect, monitor, control, and respond to potential food safety hazards in the production and processing of specialty crops, including fresh produce.

As part of this initiative, approximately $28.4 million in grants will be awarded in Fiscal Year 2008 on a competitive basis for research projects that address the five focus areas.  Priority will be given to projects that:

  • are multistate, multi-institutional, or multidisciplinary; and
  • include explicit mechanisms to communicate results to producers and the public.


Eligible applicants include federal agencies, national laboratories, colleges and universities, research institutions and organizations, private organizations or corporations, state agricultural experiment stations, individuals, or groups consisting of two or more of these entities.

It is anticipated that the SCRI Request for Applications will be released in July 2008 with a 30-day open period. All applicants are required to provide funds or in-kind support from non-federal sources in an amount that is at least equal to the federal funds requested.  

Before applying, you must complete the registration process, which can take as long as 2 weeks. Please see the Grants.Gov Web site for more information.