WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced $72.9 million awarded to 55 states and territories through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP). The grant program provides funding to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops and support specialty crop growers through marketing, education, and research.

“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. “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.”

Fiscal year 2023 SCBGP funding is awarded to the departments of agriculture in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Funding for SCBGP is authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill.

Washington was awarded over $4.8 million in this round, funding 21 projects including $249,000 for the Washington State Tree Fruit Association.

Idaho will be receiving $2.1 million to fund 16 different projects, including an ongoing pollinator project by the College of Idaho.

Oregon will see over $1.9 million to help with 12 projects like the Northwest Cider Association educating Oregon cidermakers on navigating barriers to international markets.

States are encouraged to subaward funding to projects that address the needs of U.S. producers of fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops. Funded projects include investing in food safety, specialty crop research, including research to focus on conservation and environmental outcomes, developing new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops, and pest and disease control. Additional projects focus on increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops; and improving efficiency and reducing costs of distribution systems.

More information on the projects is included in the individual press releases for each state and territory. The press releases can be viewed on the SCBGP 2023 Grant Awards webpage.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture

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