USDA Announces Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Funding Awarded to Arkansas

Date: Wednesday, August 23, 2023

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WASHINGTON, August 23, 2023—The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today awarded over $364,000 in Fiscal Year 2023 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) funding to Arkansas. With this grant, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture will fund projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crop products and create new market opportunities for the state’s specialty crop producers.

“With this year’s Specialty Crop Block Grant funding, Arkansas is investing in innovative projects that will help address the needs of specialty crop producers within the region,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “The funded projects will also further USDA’s efforts to ensure U.S. specialty crop products remain competitive in markets across the nation and abroad.”

Through the SCBGP, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture will fund two projects. Among the department’s projects, is funding to hold the Arkansas Grown Conference & Expo that will provide training and networking opportunities for the state’s specialty crop growers. Additionally, the department will fund a University of Arkansas project to develop new strawberry and blackberry production and fertility recommendations to support expansion of the crops in Arkansas.

“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’ 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 2023 SCBGP funding awarded to 54 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 FY2023 funding is awarded for a three-year period beginning Sept. 30, 2023. Since 2006, USDA has invested over $1 billion through the SCBGP to fund nearly 12,000 projects that have increased the long-term successes of producers and enhanced marketing opportunities for U.S. specialty crops products.

More information about these awards is available on this webpage: 2023 SCBGP Awarded Grants (pdf).