The California Department of Food and Agriculture is accepting grant proposals to enhance the competitiveness of the state's specialty crops.

The 2013 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program will issue awards ranging from $50,000 to $400,000 per project related to fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops.

Funding is contingent on passage of the 2012 Farm Bill and the availability of financing from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The process begins with submission of concept proposals. Successful applicants will be invited to participate in phase two of the process, submission of a grant proposal.

Applicants can see detailed instructions at All concept proposals must be submitted electronically by 5 p.m. Dec. 7.

Compiled by Staff Writer Robert Digitale. Submit items to

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