USDA announces 587 new projects awarded through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
USDA officials say the grants have reached nearly 12,000 different projects at this point, and its most recent $72.9-million investment marks a $1 billion funding milestone for the SCBGP, which aims to provide specialty crop producers fund key marketing, education, and research efforts.
The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s (USDA) announced Wednesday the 587 new projects that will receive a slice of the $72.9 million funding offered through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP).
The recent investment also marks a funding milestone of $1 billion for the SCBGP, which aims to assist specialty crop farmers with key funding needed to support marketing, education, and research efforts. At this point, USDA officials say the grants have reached nearly 12,000 different projects.
“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,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Projects considered for grants included ones that invest in food safety, specialty crop research, and research that focuses on conservation and environmental outcomes, as well as developing new seed varieties and crops, and improving pest and disease control as well as efficiency and cost reduction of distribution systems. Other types of projects could focus on increasing knowledge in children and adults regarding the nutritional value and consumption of specialty crops in children and adults.
“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,” Vilsack said.
Farmers eligible for the program could grow one or a variety of spcialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops. They could also live in any of the 50 U.S. States or territories, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
The application process as well as the distribution of SCBGP funding will be done on the state-level.