California Leads Nation in Specialty Crop Funding

Taylor HillmanCitrus, General, Industry News Release, Specialty Crops, Tree, nut & vine crops

The United States Department of Agriculture announced funding today for the 2013 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP).
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California received more than $18 million out of the total $52 million awarded nationwide.

The SCBGP provides grants to states to enhance the competitiveness of Specialty Crops, which are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).

“We are grateful for this partnership with the USDA and our stakeholders,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “This program, which is made possible by the Farm Bill, provides investment in California agriculture at a time when there are tremendous opportunities to meet the demands of local and international markets for new products, while continually improving our food safety and environmental stewardship practices.”

Market enhancement, agriculture education, nutrition, and research proposals were solicited and selected through a competitive process. The 64 projects funded under the 2013 SCBGP reflect the diversity of California’s specialty crops across the state. This year they include, but are not limited to: creating economic opportunities for specialty crop producers through market development activities that focus on local, regional, or international markets; development of effective agritourism associations to enhance rural tourism and promote specialty crops; food safety benefits and training programs; growing community food systems in underserved neighborhoods; online irrigation nitrogen management tool for cool season vegetables; and research to mitigate impacts of invasive pests.

In addition, CDFA partnered with the Center for Produce Safety in the evaluation and recommendation of food safety related projects. These projects represent an ongoing effort to minimize outbreaks by proactive research.