News Article – 

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is providing state departments of agriculture with administrative flexibility for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBG) tdue to the COVID-19 crisis.

As part of this effort, AMS is allowing state departments of agriculture to apply to the SCBGP’s 2020 RFA with limited initial documentation. This flexibility is being offered to ensure that AMS can obligate these funds in a timely manner before the end of the Federal fiscal year and to allow states to apply even while they are facing operational limitations as a result of the COVID-19 situation.

  • Any state department of agriculture experiencing or anticipating challenges with submission of their 2020 SCBGP application by the application due date as a result of COVID-19 should submit to AMS an official memo providing their situation and include an explanation for why the deadline cannot be met.
  • AMS will allow the state department of agriculture to submit an application through that only includes the state administration portion of the grant application (i.e., the Grant Administration Template) and the Standard Form (SF) 424, requesting the amount they plan to apply for. Their anticipated subawards should be provided under the contractual section of the Budget Narrative.
  • When the state department of agriculture is able to perform and complete their in-state competition, they must submit to AMS a state plan that includes the content required in the Grant Administration Template and Project Profile Template(s).

States who request this process will not be allowed to draw down on FY2020 funds until a complete state plan is submitted to and approved by AMS.
AMS has been in communication with all its current grant recipients and partners regarding the administrative and financial flexibilities offered to those affected by the loss of operational capacity and increased costs due to the COVID-19 crisis. We will continue to work with them to address the need for project adaptations to address this crisis.