- Author: Cris L. Johnson
The $101 million in grant money will be apportioned to promote two areas:
- $55 million in specialty crop block grants to state that fund 748 initiatives to strengthen markets and expand economic opportunities for local and regional producers.
- $46 million to support new and continuing research and extension activities to address challenges and opportunities for growers and businesses that rely on a sustainable, profitable specialty crops industry.
Specialty crops include fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, floriculture and nursery crops.
The key research areas for funding are:
- Improving crop charactistics through plant breeding, genetics and genomics
- Addressing threats from pests and diseases
- Improving production efficiency, productivity and profitabilitiy
- Developing new innovations and technologies
- Developing methods to improve food safety
These grants reflect the continuing efforts by the USDA to stimulate agriculture and food based economic development. UC Ventura County Cooperative Extension and statewide extension in turn provides the research, outreach and expertise to local and potential growers seeking specialty niches in agriculture.
Find out more about this grant program and read the USDA news release in its entirety here.