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Serving: MI

Specialty crop industry gets boost with block grants

Joanna McCarthy/Getty Images Close up of asparagus
INCREASE SALES: The Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board received a specialty block grant to advance sales and marketing of Michigan asparagus.
Michigan received close to $1.8 million through a USDA program.

Michigan’s specialty crop growers will get a boost in everything from disease research to marketing programs through the newest round of funding from the USDA's Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, administered by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The program offers federal funding to state departments of agriculture to support the specialty crop industry. In total, Michigan received close to $1.8 million. Grants focus on marketing, training, certifications, food safety, pest control and plant health for specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, plants and flowers.

“Unlike commodities such as grain, cotton and oilseed, specialty crops do not receive direct aid from the farm bill, so these grants are critical for Michigan’s specialty crop industry,” MDARD Director Gary McDowell says. “And even though these are federal grants, they pass through the state departments of agriculture to help ensure the funds are allocated based on each state’s unique needs. It’s a great program, and we’re proud to help support Michigan’s specialty crop producers.”  

The grants are designed to enhance the competitiveness of the state’s specialty crops. The recipients include:

Cherry Marketing Institute. Driving demand for U.S.-grown tart cherries with influential food and beverage manufacturers, $125,000

Hop Growers of Michigan. Integrated approaches to managing cone diseases in Michigan hopyards, $73,258

Michigan Apple Committee. Target audience engagement to increase sales of Michigan apples, $125,000

Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board. Sales and marketing tools to advance the Michigan asparagus industry, $125,000

Michigan Bean Commission. Multifaceted strategies to communicate the value of Michigan dry beans, $107,200

Michigan Bean Commission. Optimization of fertilizer rate recommendations for Michigan dry bean growers, $99,998

Michigan Blueberry Commission. Evaluating effective management strategies to control anthracnose fruit rot in Michigan blueberries, $70,258

Michigan Celery Research Inc. Michigan celery growers seek answers to plant “meltdown,” which threatens the industry’s future, $70,046

Michigan Christmas Tree Association. Development of integrated weed control program for Michigan Christmas tree production, $72,744

Michigan Grape Society. Cold hardiness monitoring for grapevines in southwest Michigan, $40,000

Michigan Greenhouse Growers Council. Greenhouse growers seek innovative solutions to control botrytis blight, $70,000

Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association. Debating glyphosate, understanding the prominence of herbicide resistance and residuals in nurseries, $100,000

Michigan Potato Industry Commission. Identification of potato varieties with postharvest disease resistance, $85,625

Michigan State Horticultural Society. Managing downy mildew in Michigan vineyards: Investigating alternative products, fungicide efficacy and resistance levels, $99,500

Michigan Vegetable Council. Strategies are needed to protect Michigan’s cucurbits from fungicide-resistant downy mildew, $91,577

National Grape Cooperative. Addressing priority issues in berry moth management for Michigan vineyards, $99,637

Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Office. Publication of instructional manual for operating a 5-acre institutional horticulture farm using an incarcerated labor force, $125,000

Southwest Michigan Wine Trail. A comprehensive marketing project to improve competitiveness of Lake Michigan shore wines, $88,252

MDARD International Marketing Program. International and domestic promotion of Michigan specialty crops, $161,626.85

For more information about the program, visit and

Source: MDARD, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
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