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State seeks innovative ideas for special cropsState seeks innovative ideas for special crops

Washington State Department of Agriculture is on the hunt for innovative ideas for its specialty crops industry, and has $4 million available in grand monies.

February 12, 2016

2 Min Read

The Washington State Department of Agriculture is looking for a few good ideas. In fact, the state has more than $4 million in grant funding for its fruit, vegetable and nursery industry through the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Innovative ideas can be funded through this program, but the deadline for having proposals into WSDA is 5 p.m. Feb. 26.

Private and non-profit organizations, commodity commissions and other public entities may request funds for projects ranging from $25,000 to $250,000 that benefit the competitiveness of fruit, vegetable, tree nut and nursery crop producers.

The first step in applying for grant funding is to submit a brief concept proposal using an application provided by WSDA. Email proposals to [email protected]. The proposals will be reviewed by WSDA, and successful applicants will be asked to submit full proposals for further review. Application information, forms and the milestone schedules are posted on WSDA’s website. For additional information, go to the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service at www.ams.usda.gov/scbgp or contact WSDA’s Leisa Schumaker at [email protected] or (360) 902-2091.

The Agency – based on feedback from the state’s specialty crop industries – is looking for projects in the following areas:

• control of pests and diseases,

• develop and enhance international and local or regional markets

• preserve or increase water availability

• improve production practices through innovative technologies

• increase nutritional knowledge and consumption of specialty crops

• reduce regulatory barriers

• assist in the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act

• or develop organic and sustainable production practices.

And projects that benefit Washington’s specialty crop producers and food processors in other ways, benefit Washington and other states, or that benefit new farmers or socially disadvantaged farmers are also encouraged.

Washington ranks second in the nation in production of specialty crops and last year funded 24 projects under USDA’s specialty crop program. USDA will announce their awards this fall. WSDA grant agreements will be issued in October or November.

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