Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is accepting proposals for projects aimed at increasing the visibility and competitiveness of the state’s specialty horticultural crops, including fruits, vegetables, nurseries, flowers and nuts. Proposals, due January 28, 2022, are for the federal block grant program for specialty crops, which is administered by the state.
“Pennsylvania’s specialty crops are some of the best in the world,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “These grants increase the profits and sustainability 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. -manpower they need to grow their businesses and continue to feed Pennsylvania and the world.”
The proposals are the first step in a two-part competitive process for federal block grants for special crops authorized under the federal Farm Act. 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 2021, USDA funded 13 projects in Pennsylvania totaling $1,055,540 million of the $72.9 million granted nationally, plus a an additional $1.4 million to finance projects awaiting final approval. The 13 projects funded to date have included those that will develop the state’s agricultural industry by improving food security; combat diseases, pests and climate threats to potatoes, fungi and other crops; increase wholesale opportunities and sales in agricultural markets; assess the economics of hop-growing to meet the demands of the state’s burgeoning craft brewing industry; harness the talents of young people and recruit and retain a culturally and ethnically diverse workforce.
Applicants for the 2022 grants must submit a full proposal for projects that improve the competitiveness of specialty crops through nutrition education, technology and business innovation, conservation, pest and disease management research, improving food safety or food security, good handling practices or organic and sustainable agriculture. 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 4:59 p.m. on January 28, 2022. Applications may be submitted to the PA Department of Community and Economic Development’s one-stop electronic aid application at esa.dced.state.pa.us.
MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Powers – 717.603.2056, [email protected]