USDA Announces Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Funding Awarded to Pennsylvania

Date: Thursday, August 25, 2022

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WASHINGTON, August 25, 2022—The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today awarded over $1 million in Fiscal Year 2022 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) funding to Pennsylvania. This USDA grant will help the Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania’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.”

Through SCBGP funding, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is funding 14 projects. The department is awarding over $130,000 to the Rodale Institute to evaluate the impact of soil microbes on nutrient quality in bean varieties. The findings will be used to help specialty crop growers make informed decisions in selecting cropping systems that promote soil health and enhance production. Additional funding is being awarded to the Penn State Extension to establish a bee monitoring program. The results of this project will provide growers and state agencies with crucial information about the status of wild bee populations within the commonwealth. Other projects funded through SCBGP, are focused in the areas of research, education, and sustainability.

“Pennsylvania specialty crops feed our state, our nation and our planet,” said Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “These grants increase profits and sustainability by increasing quality, protecting crops from pest, disease and climate threats, assuring that pollinators are plentiful and healthy, and helping growers attract and train the workforce they need to keep producing healthy, high-quality crops to feed the world.”

The funding to Pennsylvania 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).