The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced that the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service will award block grants to enhance the competitiveness for specialty crops growers.
The Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004 authorizes the USDA to make grants to states for the fiscal years 2005-2009 to be used by state departments of agriculture solely to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops defined as nursery crops, fruits, vegetables, tree nuts and dried nuts.
According to the USDA, there is approximately $7 million available for grants. Each state that submits a grant application will receive $100,000. In addition, each state will receive an amount that represents the proportion of the value of specialty crop production using the latest available complete data set in all states whose applications are accepted.
Go to the Specialty Crop Grant Program Web site at www.ams.usda.gov/fv/  for more information.