Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Viticulture Research Grant Program
Procedures for Grant Applications
The Florida Viticulture Policy Act, Ch599FS, declares that viticulture, the production and utilization of grapes, is an underdeveloped agriculture commodity enterprise in Florida. The Act also creates a Viticulture Advisory Council (VAC) to assist in developing a plan for the expansion and growth of viticulture into a broad-based, economically viable industry. The Act further establishes a Viticulture Trust Fund derived from taxes on Florida produced wine sales to assist in implementing the plan. The Viticulture Research Grant Program (VRGP) represents an initiative of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDOACS) to meet the purposes of the Act. It is a competitive grant application process which is open to anyone choosing to apply—researchers, commercial grape growers, grape growing organizations, wineries, and any other interested individual or entity in Florida interested in doing viticulture research. The value and importance of viticulture research is basic to the sustainability of the industry.
In keeping with the tenants of sustainable agriculture, the Viticulture Research Grant Program supports economically viable, environmentally sound, and socially responsible agricultural systems. It is the purpose of the program to encourage research related to viticulture designed to increase our knowledge concerning integrated systems of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will, over the long term:
· Enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base on which the agriculture economy depends;
· Make the most efficient use of non-renewable and on‑farm resources and integrate, when appropriate, ecologically based cultural practices and biological control.
· Sustain the economic viability of farm operations (profitability); and
· Enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.
What is a VAC Viticulture Research Grant?
The VAC funds research into viticulture--grape growing, marketing, processing and dissemination of research results to grape growers in the State. Projects should involve grape growers in both design and execution and take place on working vineyards whenever possible and appropriate. Viticulture research proposals are reviewed once annually, during the spring. VAC-directed funding is established through a contract between the recipient individual or agency and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Projects generally are funded for one year, and upon completion, project investigators submit written results of their work to the VAC. These final project reports are solely the work of the investigators and their cooperators and are available to the public upon request to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
The VAC encourages modest proposals. While projects ma be granted in an amount up to $50,000, proposals in the range of 45,000 to $15,000 are preferred. The amount of funding available for project support is dependent on the VAC’s funding priorities and the amount of revenues collected by the State on wine sales. Matching funds from other sources and/or in-kind contributions from cooperators are encouraged but not required. The VAC will only fund one year of a multi-year project at a time. An interim report and new application are required for the VAC to consider funding each subsequent year.
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDOACS) will publish the procedures for grant applications and dates for submission on its Web site and in the Florida Market Bulletin. The Florida Grape Growers Association (FGGA), in conjunction with FDOACS, may also advertise and publish the research program application procedures in its newsletter and on its Web site Questions regarding the program can be directed to Mr. George Demetree at (850) 488-4131.
Proposals must be submitted by March 15th. Your application should begin with a short (1-2 paragraph) summary of your proposed project, and then continue by addressing, in order, each of the 10 points outlined below. The successful proposal will provide a clear rationale for the project, showing that there is a significant need for the research proposed. It is important that the objectives for your project be clear, well structured, and measurable. Throughout the application, demonstrate why your project is necessary and what, specifically, you hope to accomplish. VAC research grants can only be used for expenses directly relating to your original research. General overhead and operational costs may not be included in your budget proposal. For each project approved for funding, final reports are due to FDOACS by May 1st so that they can be reviewed at the spring meeting of the VAC and awarded within the fiscal year for which they were approved. All authors of proposals will be notified as to the outcome of their application as soon after the spring VAC meeting as possible.
In addition to the project summary, please address the following points in order, and number them in your proposal:
How Much and What Will the VAC Research Grant Fund?
While projects may be granted an amount up to $50,000, proposals in the range of $5,000 to $15,000 are preferred. The grant can be used to reimburse direct project costs, such as materials, supplies, and labor. This includes reimbursement of expenses for recording, analyzing, documenting, and disseminating results; and, rental of equipment necessary to the project. Mileage for field travel may be reimbursed at a maximum of 32 cents per mile.
What Expenses Will a VAC Research Grant NOT Fund?
The VAC will not provide funding for permanent equipment, travel to professional meetings, faculty salaries, labor for farming, or other expenses that primarily benefit the collaborating farm or vineyard where the research is being done. The grant cannot be used to purchase land or build infrastructure or make permanent improvements, such as barns or buildings, at the vineyard site. Additionally, the grant will not fund the costs of general equipment, such as tractors, mechanical harvesters, or vehicles.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES will the VAC pay institutional overhead or indirect expenses. All expenses must be directly related to the project.
All funding for the grant program is awarded competitively because more proposals may be submitted than can be funded in any one year. Proposals will be reviewed by the members of the Research Committee of the Viticulture Advisory Council for approval of the VAC at its spring meeting. The Research Committee is comprised of members of the VAC who are Florida grape growers, winery representatives, and administrators from the University of Florida and Florida A& M University. The VAC reserves the right to seek outside technical consultation as necessary.
What Will Happen if Your Proposal is Selected?
Project selections are made by the Research Committee in May and immediately presented to the VAC for approval. FDOACS approval is also required for funding a proposal. After the project is approved, the grantee will be asked to sign a contract between the recipient individual or agency and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services agreeing to conduct the activities proposed. By May 1st of the following year, the grantee will submit a final report to the FDOACS Viticulture Coordinator. The final progress report must be submitted in writing and include the results of the research project, specifically addressing how well the project achieved its stated objectives. This report will be reviewed by the VAC at the spring meeting. Once the Council accepts the final report, it will advise the FDOACS Viticulture Coordinator that disbursement of funds can be made upon receipt of an invoice and documentation of approved project costs that must be submitted no later than June 15th. The grantee will be reimbursed according to the provisions of the grant, following acceptance of the final report by the VAC, and compliance with the aforementioned deadlines.
March 15 Research proposals are due.
May 1 of the following year Final progress report is due.
June 15 of the funded year Invoice and documentation of approved project costs are due.
Note: Any proposal that is received past the deadline for submission or is incomplete in any way may not be considered for review. Any documentation, e.g., final progress report, invoice, etc., for approved projects, that is received after the deadline may not be accepted or reimbursed.
Submit all documents to the FDOACS Viticulture Coordinator:
Mr. Tom Thomas, Viticulture Coordinator
Division of Marketing
FDACS, Room 422, Mayo Building
407 South Calhoun
Tallahassee, Florida 32399‑0800
Telephone 850 922-9827