USDA Announces Funds to Enhance the Competitiveness of Specialty Crops

Published online: Sep 20, 2010 USDA
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DOVER, Del. - Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced the award of block grants to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops, including floriculture. Merrigan announced these awards today at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture annual meeting. The 54 grants announced total approximately $55 million, and will fund 827 projects, a 10 percent increase over last year. This supports the competitiveness of specialty crops and America's specialty crop farmers. The funds will be used by the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Summaries of all awards can be viewed at www.ams.usda.gov/scbgp. The block grants benefit specialty crop growers and consumers as well. For example, one block grant recipient is partnering with a university to determine if E. coli 0157:H7 can be transferred by dust or wind from cattle production areas to leafy green produce crops. Another recipient is partnering with an agency to coordinate a Farm to School program where school districts will purchase specialty crops from a variety of growers for direct use in school meals, and provide nutrition and agriculture education about the benefits and nutritional qualities of specialty crops to students and school personnel. The grant recipients are: Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries - $435,904.12 Alaska Division of Agriculture - $197,258.55 Arizona Department of Agriculture - $1,175,326.21 Arkansas Agriculture Department - $270,934.69 California Department of Food and Agriculture - $17,281,158.92 Colorado Department of Agriculture - $773,535.26 Connecticut Department of Agriculture - $445,339.20 Delaware Department of Agriculture - $251,741.11 District of Columbia, Agricultural Experiment Station - $181,210.00 Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services -$4,797,413.00 Georgia Department of Agriculture - $1,015,360.23 Guam Department of Agriculture - $183,112.95 Hawaii Department of Agriculture - $416,808.98 Idaho State Department of Agriculture - $1,037,890.22 Illinois Department of Agriculture - $648,085.68 Indiana State Department of Agriculture - $399,796.45 Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship - $276,310.76 Kansas Department of Agriculture - $282,828.14 Kentucky Department of Agriculture - $273,262.60 Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry - $353,448.31 Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources - $420,878.14 Maryland Department of Agriculture - $432,766.91 Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources - $502,944.14 Michigan Department of Agriculture - $1,415,489.62 Minnesota Department of Agriculture - $802,718.56 Mississippi Department of Agriculture - $293,555.29 Missouri Department of Agriculture - $342,960.19 Montana Department of Agriculture - $292,954.57 Nebraska Department of Agriculture - $353,970.92 Nevada Department of Agriculture - $231,060.95 New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food - $260,467.66 New Jersey Department of Agriculture - $840,373.74 New Mexico Department of Agriculture - $396,160.84 New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets - $1,254,272.19 North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services - $1,147,731.84 North Dakota Department of Agriculture - $665,630.19 Ohio Department of Agriculture - $675,086.37 Oklahoma State Department of Agriculture - $369,855.41 Oregon Department of Agriculture - $1,764,486.13 Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture - $1,069,427.21 Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture - $400,097.74 Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Division of Agriculture - $ 224,472.49 South Carolina Department of Agriculture - $524,182.84 South Dakota Department of Agriculture - $208,816.87 Tennessee Department of Agriculture - $520,784.72 Texas Department of Agriculture - $1,800,402.41 U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture - $182,405.21 Utah Department of Agriculture and Food - $309,814.75 Vermont Agency of Agriculture - $228,703.36 Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - $513,226.81 Washington State Department of Agriculture - $3,744,666.16 West Virginia Department of Agriculture - $213,597.69 Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection - $1,056,177.63 Wyoming Department of Agriculture - $206,135.08 Summaries of all awards can be viewed at www.ams.usda.gov/scbgp.