USDA Announces $9.5 Million in Grants Awarded to Strengthen the Specialty Crop Industry

April 24, 2020

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced $9.5 million awarded to 11 collaborative, multi-state projects to enhance the competitiveness of U.S. specialty crops.  The funding is made possible through the Specialty Crop Multi-State Program (SCMP), reauthorized by the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill).

SCMP strengthens food safety; seeks new ways to address plant pests, disease and other crop-specific issues; and increases marketing opportunities for specialty crops—fruits, vegetables, tree nuts and dried fruits to horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.

Funding is awarded competitively to state departments of agriculture that partner with stakeholder organizations in two or more states.  In this fiscal year 2019 cycle, USDA received 56 applications and funded 11 applications.

Examples of this year’s projects include:

  • The Arizona Department of Agriculture’s collaboration with University of Arizona and University of California Cooperative Extension to advance commercial mushroom production by increasing the use of local agricultural/industrial wastes as production substrates and increasing nutritional value of resulting mushrooms grown on modified substrates and environmental conditions.
  • The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s collaboration with the University of California, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, USDA Agricultural Research Service, University of Minnesota and the Organic Center to evaluate the food safety impacts of sheep grazing cover crops, compared to tilled termination of cover crops and winter fallow, before spinach and cucumber.

A full list of grant recipients and their project descriptions is available on the SCMP Awarded Grants page of the Agricultural Marketing Service website.

To learn more about grant funding opportunities to enhance and strengthen agricultural systems, visit Agricultural Marketing Service: Grants.

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