USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced more than $62.5 million in grants to support farmers growing fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops, also known as specialty crops. The projects include research, agricultural Extension activities, and programs to increase demand and address the needs of America’s specialty crop industry. AMS Administrator Elanor Starmer made the announcement while attending USDA’s Fall Forum with local stakeholders held in Concord, NH, to discuss key issues facing the future of agriculture.
The grants are part of USDA’s continued effort to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops and provide resources to strengthen American agriculture. The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP), administrated by AMS, awarded grant funds for 693 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories. Under the Obama administration, AMS has awarded SCBGP grants totaling $455.5 million for 6,138 projects, including those announced.
“The Obama administration has placed a strong emphasis on healthy eating, and specialty crops such as fruits and vegetables play an important role in this effort,” said Starmer. “The grants announced will help ensure that our specialty crop sector remains competitive, has the resources it needs to solve challenges, and can meet Americans’ growing demand for these products. This is important for our farmers and rural communities as well as for all American consumers.”
The grants are issued to state departments of agriculture for projects that help support specialty crop growers, including locally grown fruits and vegetables. For additional grant information on the awards including a complete listing of winners, visit the AMS website.