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MDAC Market Development

Definition of Specialty Crops

Susan Head


P.O. Box 1609
Jackson, MS 39215

Telephone: 601.359.1196
Fax: 601.354.6001



Additional Information

Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. Specialty crops are plants that are intensively cultivated. There are many plants that are specialty crops when cultivated but are also collected from wild populations. Wild plants are not considered specialty crops even though they may be used for the same purpose as cultivated plants.

Eligible Specialty Crops

Commonly recognized fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and nursery crops (including floriculture)

  • Algae

  • Chickpeas

  • Christmas trees

  • Cocoa

  • Coffee

  • Cut flowers

  • Dry edible beans

  • Dry peas

  • Foliage

  • Fruit grapes for wine

  • Garlic

  • Ginger root

  • Ginseng

  • Herbs

  • Honey

  • Hops

  • Kava

  • Lavender

  • Lentils

  • Maple syrup

  • Mushrooms


  • Organic fruits and

  • Peppermint

  • Potatoes

  • Seaweed

  • Spearmint

  • Sweet Corn

  • Sweet Sorghum for human consumption

  • Vanilla

  • Vegetable seeds

Ineligible Commodities

  • Cotton and cottonseed

  • Feed crops such as barley, corn, hay, oats, sorghum grain, millet, alfalfa

  • Flaxseed

  • Food grains such as rice, rye, wheat

  • Livestock and dairy products, including eggs

  • Marine or fresh water aquaculture

  • Oil crops such as peanut, soybean, sunflower, safflower, rapeseed, canola, mustard seed, evening primrose, borage

  • Peanuts

  • Range grasses

  • Sugar beets

  • Sod

  • Sugarcane

  • Tobacco

  • Tofu

Please visit the USDA's Definition of Specialty Crops website for a more comprehensive listing of eligible and ineligible commodities.