The Delaware Department of Agriculture is currently seeking applications for this year’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, with nearly $344,500 allocated to assist in increasing the competitiveness of Delaware-grown specialty crops. Applications will be accepted through April 14.

The program, funded through the federal Farm Bill, covers products known as specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. Projects should benefit the specialty crop industry as a whole and be able to provide a positive impact with measurable outcomes. Grants are available between $5,000 and $50,000 for projects that may last between one and three years.

Applications should be submitted by agricultural producers, nonprofit organizations, government entities, for-profit companies or educational institutions based in Delaware or with a business or educational affiliation in the state. Funding cannot be used for field crops, such as corn and soybeans, or animal agriculture.

An informational grant workshop will be held on March 24, at 5 p.m. in the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Conference Center at 2320 South DuPont Highway, Dover.

Past Delaware projects have included research on growing truffle mushrooms and persimmons in Delaware, high-density orchards and youth educational farm field trips.

Applications are available at https://de.gov/scbg, or from DDA marketing specialist JoAnn Walston at (302) 698-4592 or joann.walston@delaware.gov. Due to a change in the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant cycle, applications are due earlier this year. Applications must be received by 4:30 p.m. on April 14.