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Grants to USA Agencies, IHEs, Organizations, Corporations,
and Individuals for Research Related to Specialty Crops

Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI)

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Funding Source:

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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

Deadline Date:

01/21/22 5:00 PM ET


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Grants to USA federal agencies, IHEs, national laboratories, research institutions, organizations, corporations, cooperative extension services, and individuals to develop and disseminate research tools to address the needs of the specialty crop industry. Applicants must complete required registrations prior to applying.

The purpose of the SCRI program is to address the critical needs of the specialty crop industry (as defined in Appendix III) by awarding grants to support research and extension that address key challenges of national, regional, and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of food and agriculture, including conventional and organic food production systems. 

Projects must address at least one of five focus areas:

  • Research in plant breeding, genetics, genomics, and other methods to improve crop characteristics
  • Efforts to identify and address threats from pests and diseases, including threats to specialty crop pollinators
  • Efforts to improve production efficiency, handling and processing, productivity, and profitability over the long term (including specialty crop policy and marketing)
  • New innovations and technology, including improved mechanization and technologies that delay or inhibit ripening
  • Methods to prevent, detect, monitor, control, and respond to potential food safety hazards in the production efficiency, handling and processing of specialty crops

The program recognizes that for some specialty crops which are grown on in a limited number of states, multistate nature of projects can be difficult to address. Except for Research and Extension Planning Projects, the SCRI program only considers projects that integrate research and extension activities. Applicants are strongly encouraged to propose a unique approach to solving problems facing the specialty crop industry using a systems approach.

The philosophy of the SCRI program is: Truly effective, long-term solutions to specialty crop industry challenges can best be achieved by understanding and treating those problems as complex systems of many interacting components. This perspective requires projects that are larger in scope and complexity, and that demand more resources than have traditionally been allocated to individual research and extension projects. In doing so, projects should focus on entire primary systems, including the production system, the processing and distribution system, and the consumer and marketing system, (as defined in Appendix III) or on areas where two or more primary systems overlap. 

Specialty crops are defined in law as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. USDA has developed a more detailed description of specialty crops that is now in use by all USDA agencies (see Specialty Crop Research Initiative). Collectively, these crops face many challenges. The SCRI program seeks to address these challenges by funding systems-based, trans-disciplinary approaches (as defined in Appendix III).

It is anticipated that successful applications will:

  1. Engage stakeholders in collaborative ways to identify those priorities of greatest need;
  2. Bring together multi-state, multi-institutional teams of biological, physical, and social scientists to develop strategies and actions emphasizing systems-based, trans-disciplinary approaches for meeting the identified priorities;
  3. Address priorities through research and extension;
  4. Present plans for documenting the impacts of funded applications that include stakeholder involvement; and
  5. Include explicit mechanisms to communicate results to producers and the public.

For additional program details and priorities, see:

Project Types 

  • Standard Research and Extension Projects: Purpose – To support targeted problem-solving efforts that would not qualify in scope for support as a Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP). 
  • Coordinated Agricultural Projects (CAPs): Purpose – To address specific multiple components of a primary system or multiple components of areas where primary systems overlap
  • Research and Extension Planning Projects: Purpose – To provide assistance to applicants in the development of quality future SREP or CAP proposals (grant planning). Funds may also be requested to provide assistance to consumer, producer, or industry groups for developing strategic research and extension plans—including goals, objectives, priorities, etc. (strategic planning). The expectation is that developed plans could provide the relevance bases for future SCRI grant applications.

For additional details on project types, see:

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 182312

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Standard Research and Extension Projects (SREPs):
-Budget: Normally, Federal funds will not exceed $1,000,000 per year. Requests less than $250,000 per project are discouraged.

Coordinated Agricultural Projects (CAPs):
-Budget: Normally, Federal funds will not exceed $2,000,000 per year.

Research and Extension Planning Projects
-Budget: Federal funds up to $50,000 per project

Term of Contract:

- Standard Research and Extension Projects (SREPs): The project period us up to four years.
- Coordinated Agricultural Projects (CAPs): The project period is up to four years.
- Research and Extension Planning Projects: The project period is one year.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Pre-Applications may only be submitted by Federal agencies, national laboratories, colleges and universities, research institutions and organizations, private organizations or corporations, State Agricultural Experiment Stations, Cooperative Extension Services, individuals, or groups consisting of two or more of these entities.

Centers of Excellence cannot be requested in the pre-application phase.

Pre-Application Information:

Application Deadline: 5:00 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, January 21, 2022

In FY 2022, applicants will compete for the SCRI program in two stages. Applicants will be required to submit a pre-application containing a Stakeholder Relevance Statement (SRS). The content required in an SRS is described in Part IV § B of this RFPA. Panels of industry representatives from various specialty crop sectors will review and rank the pre-applications for merit, relevance and impact. The industry representatives for each specialty crop sector will decide which pre- applicants should be invited to submit full applications. NIFA will provide details of the full-application process to invitees in a separate RFA.

For grants awarded on or after December 20, 2018, the recipient of an award from the SCRI program must provide funds, in-kind contributions, or a combination of both, from sources other than funds provided through such grant in an amount that is at least equal to the amount awarded by NIFA. Matching funds may include, but are not limited to, funds from an agricultural commodity promotion, research, and information program.

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For a list of application documents, see the Package tab (press Preview) on the page above.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Programmatic Contact:

Tom Bewick

Megan O’Reilly

Other RFA or application questions, please email

Awards under this RFA, please email

U.S. Postal Mailing Address:
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
P.O. Box 419205, MS 10000
Kansas City, MO 64141-6205

Courier/Package Delivery Address:
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
United States Department of Agriculture
2312 East Bannister Road, MS 10000
Kansas City, MO 64141-3061

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

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