Agriculture Department Invites Proposals for Federal Grants to Boost Sales and Quality of Specialty Crops

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The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is accepting project proposals for $1 million in federal funding to increase the visibility and competitiveness of the state’s specialty horticultural crops, including fruits, vegetables, nurseries , flowers and nuts. Proposals, due December 22, 2022, are for the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Programwhich is administered by the state.

“Pennsylvania specialty crops are the best available anywhere,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “These grants fuel the profits of our growers by increasing the quality and demand of their products, protecting crops from pests, diseases and climate threats, and helping them retain, recruit and train the workforce. work they need to grow their businesses and continue to feed Pennsylvania and the world.”

Products that meet the definition of specialty crops include horticultural products such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, dried fruits, culinary herbs and spices, medicinal plants and nursery crops.

In May 2022, the USDA awarded over $2.45 million for 23 projects in Pennsylvania through the program, and again in August 2022, they awarded over $1 million for 14 projects in Pennsylvania focused on research, education and sustainability.

Applicants must submit a full proposal for projects that improve the competitiveness of specialty crops through nutrition education, technology and market innovation, conservation, pest and disease management research, improving food safety or security, good handling practices or organic and sustainable practices.

Applications can be made for a minimum of $20,000, provided the amount reasonably represents the cost of the anticipated project. Each project must have measurable results demonstrating how it benefits the specialized culture or consumers, rather than a single organization, institution or individual. Individual organizations, institutions and individuals are encouraged to participate as project partners.

Complete proposals must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on December 22, 2022. Applications may be submitted to the PA Department of Community and Economic Development’s one-time electronic application for assistance at esa.dced.state.pa.us. Applicants with questions about eligible projects or procedures should contact Lauren Stackhouse at [email protected] or 717.614.5730.

Application guidelines can be found in the October 29 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Information, eligibility and detailed application instructions can be found at agriculture.pa.gov.

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