Date: Thursday, August 25, 2022
WASHINGTON, August 25, 2022—The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today awarded over $357,000 in Fiscal Year 2022 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) funding to Arkansas. This USDA grant will help the Arkansas Department of Agriculture fund projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in the state and support specialty crop growers through marketing, education, and research.
“USDA applauds Arkansas’s continued commitment to supporting our nation’s producers of fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “The projects funded will foster innovative research and new market opportunities within the specialty crop sector, while furthering USDA’s goals of creating a more fair and equitable food system and supporting local and regional producers.”
Arkansas research projects funded this year include work on spinach and arugula production in hydroponic systems, pest control options for melonworms in pumpkins, and watermelon and cantaloupe variety assessments. Other projects will focus on supporting the Arkansas grape and wine industries, expanding the use of specialty crops in Arkansas schools, and improving the marketing and visibility of the Arkansas strawberry and blackberry industries.
“The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is pleased to help administer the Specialty Crop Block Grant funds that provide assistance to this important sector of Arkansas’s agriculture industry,” said Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward. “These funds will help Arkansas organizations provide needed outreach and promotional efforts for Arkansas specialty crops, fund specialty crop research initiatives, and help create value-added products. We look forward to working with the recipients on these exciting projects that provide economic benefit to producers and our rural communities.”
The funding to Arkansas is part of a total of $72.9 million in non-competitive FY 2022 SCBGP funding awarded to 55 states, territories and the District of Columbia. The SCBGP funding supports farmers growing specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops. USDA’s support will strengthen U.S. specialty crop production and markets, ensuring an abundant, affordable supply of highly nutritious fruits, vegetables, and other specialty crops, which are vital to the health and well-being of all Americans.
The funding for the SCBGP grants is authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill and FY2022 funding is awarded for a three-year period beginning September 30, 2022. Since 2006, USDA has invested more than $953 million through the SCBGP to fund 11,331 projects that have increased the long-term successes of producers and broadened the market for specialty crops in the U.S. and abroad.
More information about these awards is available on this webpage: 2022 SCBGP Awarded Grants (pdf).