On Friday, USDA Deputy Ag Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced that $55 million in 54 specialty crop grants had been released. The announcement was made at the annual meeting of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture in Dover, Del.
The much-sought Ag Marketing Service block grants aim to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops, including floriculture.
Largest awards went to the biggest produce states: $17.3 million to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, $4.8 million to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, $3.7 million to the Washington State Department of Agriculture, and $1.8 million each to the Oregon and Texas Departments of Agriculture. New York and Pennsylvania followed closely behind.
Northeast grant recipients – all ag departments – and amounts included:
• Connecticut: $445,339
• Delaware: $251,741
• Maine: $420,878
• Maryland: $432,766
• Massachusetts: $502,944
• New Hampshire: $260,467
• New Jersey: $840,373
• New York: $1,254,272
• Pennsylvania: $1,069,427
• Rhode Island Department: $224,472
• Vermont: $228,703
• West Virginia: $213,597
Summaries of all state awards may be viewed at www.ams.usda.gov/scbgp . It’ll give you a brief idea of the many projects being funded in each state and multi-state efforts. Expect another application round for 2011 specialty crop grants to open soon.