The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) will hold application workshops the week of Jan. 11 to assist those interested in applying for the 2010 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

CDFA expects to award up to $17 million in projects to enhance the competitiveness of California specialty crops in 2010.

“The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is an important tool to assist California specialty crop growers,” said CDFA Secretary A.G. Kawamura. “These application workshops will provide important information to organizations and entities interested in applying for grant funding.”

Workshop dates and locations include:

• Jan. 11 (Monday) – 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

California Department of Food and Agriculture (main auditorium)

1220 ‘N’ Street

Sacramento, Calif., 95814

• Jan. 12 (Tuesday) – 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Fresno County Farm Bureau

1274 West Hedges Avenue

Fresno, Calif., 93720

• Jan. 13 (Wednesday) – 10:00 a.m. - Noon

Laurel Inn

801 West Laurel Drive

Salinas, Calif., 93906

• Jan. 14 (Thursday) – 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Hilton Ontario Airport

700 North Haven Avenue

Ontario, Calif. 91764

CDFA’s Federal Funds Management Office will also host an online webinar on Jan. 11, covering the same information from 10:00 a.m. - Noon. Webinar information will provided upon registration.

There is no cost to attend a workshop or webinar, but space is limited at each location. Individuals planning to attend should send an e-mail to grants@cdfa.ca.gov with contact information, number of seats required, and the location to attend.

The 2010 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and authorized by the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (farm bill).

The purpose of the program is to solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops.