USDA Announces Specialty Crops Grants

10/6/2012 7:00 AM

MADISON, Wis. — The USDA on Monday announced $101 million in grants to support America’s specialty crops producers.

About $55 million of the total will be invested in 56 specialty crop block grants to states that fund 748 initiatives across the country to strengthen markets and expand economic opportunities for local and regional producers.

An additional $46 million will go to support new and continuing research and Extension activities to address challenges and opportunities for growers and businesses that rely on a sustainable, profitable specialty crops industry.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the announcement before touring the Catholic Multicultural Center in Madison, Wis., which prepares food, including fresh fruit and vegetables, for delivery to local public schools.

“By investing in projects that stimulate growth and development for specialty crop growers of all sizes, we’re helping American farmers establish a marketplace for new businesses opportunities in each region of the country,” Vilsack said.

All 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands received grants this year.

Among the recipients were:

University of Delaware, Newark, Del., $1.57 million to develop better management practices for controlling diseases of lima beans, and then to put them into the hands of the growers in the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Penn State University, University Park, Pa., $1.44 million to produce several biopesticides for commercial use to offset the loss of registered chemicals and resistance.

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