Nearly $7 million in grant funds is now available through the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to help enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. The grants are available to state departments of agriculture through the Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004. Specialty crops are defined as nursery crops, including floriculture, fruits, vegetables, dried fruit and tree nuts.
According to the April 11 edition of the Federal Register, examples of enhancing specialty crop competitiveness include research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, plant health programs, education, “buy local” programs, increased consumption, environmental concerns and conservation, product development and developing cooperatives.
State departments of agriculture are encouraged to involve industry groups and academic and community-based organizations in the development of applications and the administration of projects.
For more details, contact Trista Etzig at firstname.lastname@example.org  or your state department of agriculture.