March 1, 2017
Specialty crops are an important part of the mix in Idaho. The state has more than 180 crops grown commercially, yet there are new opportunities for specialty crops. The Idaho State Department of Agriculture has announced that applications for the 2017 Specialty Block Grant Program are now open.
The department has announced it anticipates receiving $1.6 to $1.9 million from USDA for awards to qualified projects that improve the competitiveness of specialty crops in the state. The deadline for submitting necessary materials is April 14; to help with the application process, the department will conduct two pre-application webinars to assist applicants with the new materials required for the application. The webinars are slated for 11 a.m. Mountain Standard Time March 9, and 1 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time March 14.
Specialty crops for this program include fruits and vegetables; tree nuts and dried fruits; and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. Eligible projects for the grant must benefit more than one organization and must be solely aimed at enhancing competitiveness of specialty crops.
Celia Gould, ISDA director, noted in a press statement: "Each year ISDA is impressed with the quality of projects submitted, especially those projects that expand markets and advance the technology surrounding Idaho's specialty crops. We are excited about seeing what new marketing and research projects Idaho's specialty crop industry has to offer this year."
A wide range of projects have been awarded grants through this program in the past, covering crops including potatoes, wine and table grapes, beans, apples, onions, peaches, cherries and nursery crops.
Since 2009, ISDA has awarded more than $9 million in grant funds from the program. Projects offered opportunities for the state's specialty crops by boosting sales, product knowledge or awareness and sustainability; and improving disease control and quality assurance.
Source: Idaho State Department of Agriculture
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