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More money coming for specialty cropsMore money coming for specialty crops

USDA announces $72.9 million in grants.

Joshua Baethge

August 28, 2023

2 Min Read
Person cutting lettuce
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Specialty crop producers will receive nearly $73 million thanks to a new set of grant projects USDA announced last week. The projects are spread across all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Norther Marian Islands.

This is the latest round of funding to come from USDA's Specialty Crop Block Grant program. Approved projects include efforts to improve food safety, crop research, sustainability, developing improved seed varieties, pest control, disease control, education, efficiency improvement and cost reduction.

“USDA is excited to announce that this year’s Specialty Crop Block Grant awards marks over $1 billion invested in nearly 12,000 projects that support the U.S. specialty crop industry,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says. “The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is a critical piece of USDA and the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to support small and mid-sized producers and ensure Americans have sustained access to fresh, locally grown specialty crop products.”

More specialty crop funding on the horizon

USDA is wasting no time seeking additional specialty projects to support. On Friday, the department announced it will be making an additional $10 million available through the Specialty Crop Multi-State Program. That initiative supports collaborative efforts to address regional and national level specialty crop issues like food safety, pest control, disease eradication, research and marketing. The program was created through the Agriculture Improvement Act in the 2018 Farm Bill.

“The Specialty Crop Multi-State Program offers a unique approach to addressing issues facing the specialty crops industry,” USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt says. “The program supports collaborative research and problem solving which will ultimately increase the competitiveness of domestically grown specialty crops products.”

Applications for the multi-state program will be accepted through Dec. 22. USDA will begin funding approved grants in September 2024, supporting projects for up to 36 months.

About the Author(s)

Joshua Baethge

Policy editor, Farm Progress

Joshua Baethge covers a wide range of government issues affecting agriculture. Before joining Farm Progress, he spent 10 years as a news and feature reporter in Texas. During that time, he covered multiple state and local government entities, while also writing about real estate, nightlife, culture and whatever else was the news of the day.

Baethge earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, discovering new restaurants, finding excuses to be outside and traveling as much as possible. He is based in the Dallas area where he lives with his wife and two kids.

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