Nearly $50 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture specialty crop block grants are available to departments of agriculture in all U.S. states and territories.

The USDA is seeking applications for funds under the specialty crop block grant program, an agency news release said.

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service will award about $49 million in block grants to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, the USDA said.

The program is authorized under the Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004 and was amended in the 2008 farm bill.

Every state that submits an application that is approved will receive a minimum of one-third of 1% of $49 million, the news release said.

The remaining funds will be allocated based on the value of specialty crop production in each state, the agency said.

Instructions on how to apply for the grants can be found at the program Web site, at

The agency will accept applications for the $49 million in grant funds through Aug. 26.