BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — North Dakota’s Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has announced that applications are open for a new series of grants in 2023 — ones that focus on specialty crops.

Specialty crops, as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), include “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops”. Specialty crops that are typically grown here in North Dakota include dry beans, peas, lentils, potatoes, sunflowers, grapes, and honey, along with various vegetables. And as such, those who seek a share of this new grant are meant to focus on making these crops as effective as they can be in our state.

“Projects that solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in North Dakota are eligible for these grants,” said Goehring in a press release. “We encourage organizations, institutions, and individuals to submit proposals on their own or in partnerships.”

Eligible application topics include enhancing food safety, pest and disease control, developing new and improved seeds and specialty crops, increasing the public’s knowledge of proper nutrition, and plans to increase the consumption of specialty crops. No projects that directly benefit a single organization, institution or individual, or specific commercial products are permitted.

Applications must be submitted electronically by 4:00 p.m. CST on Wednesday, January 18, 2023. All applications will then be reviewed, scored, ranked, and finally forwarded to Goehring to determine which projects will be sent to the USDA for final approval in May.

All projects funded by the grants will begin on October 1, 2023, and they must be completed by the end of September 2025.

The application manual, instructions, scoring criteria, and an application template can be found on the NDDA’s website here. Those seeking more information about the grants should contact Deanna Gierszewski at scbg@nd.gov or 701-328-2191.