The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced funding for the 2016 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP), with California receiving more than US$22.3m out of approximately US$62.6m awarded nationwide.
The SCBGP provides grants to state departments of agriculture to fund projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).
“This is essential funding that the USDA provides each year through the Farm Bill,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “Grant recipients help all Californians through a wide variety of activities that provide numerous examples of how the Farm Bill’s reach extends far beyond agriculture.”
CDFA will fund 72 projects, awarding grants ranging from US$50,000 to US$450,000 to non-profit and for-profit organisations, government entities, and colleges and universities.
Selected through a competitive process, these projects focus on increasing sales of specialty crops by leveraging the California Grown identity; by increasing consumption through expansion of the specialty crop consumer market; by improving availability and providing nutritional education for consumers; by training growers to equip them for current and future challenges; and by conducting research on conservation and environmental outcomes, pest control and disease, and organic and sustainable production practices.