Viva Farms farm walk (copy)

Raspberries at different levels of ripeness hang on a plant.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture is seeking project applications for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program for 2020.

The department anticipates $4.6 million in funds from the United States Department of Agriculture to award to specialty crop projects in Washington state, according to state documents.

Specialty crops include fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, nursery crops and flowers.

Projects must benefit specialty crops as a whole, not provide profit to a single business or organization.

Eligible applicants include industry associations, producer groups, commodity commissions, nonprofit and for-profit organizations, local governments and educational institutions. There were 22 projects funded last year.

Projects in Skagit County that have been awarded funds in the past include Viva Farms’ incubator program in 2017, and a Sustainable Connections’ project in 2018 to help producers find markets for unsold produce.

Concept proposals are due Nov 4. The department expects to notify applicants by Dec. 20 of their status. Grant proposals are due in February 2020, and a full proposal is due in May 2020.

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