What is a Specialty Crop?
Did you know, most agriculture products that are not animal products or grain, fiber, and oil field crops are considered specialty crops by USDA. The most common specialty crops we see in Vermont are fruits and vegetables; culinary herbs, spices, and medicinal plants; nursery, floriculture, horticulture, and Christmas trees; honey; hops; maple syrup; and mushrooms. You might be asking yourself, why does this definition even matter? The answer is simple: USDA has funding through the Farm Bill to support these specific agricultural industries, and we at the Agency of Agriculture want to help ensure those funds address the most important needs of Vermont growers and producers.
The USDA-funded Vermont SCBGP invests approximately $200,000 each year in supporting the long-term viability of specialty crop industries. On January 19, VAAFM will release a request for applications (RFA) for the new 2021 funding opportunity. The deadline to submit pre-applications will be March 1, 2021.