USDA gives $72.9MM in specialty crop grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has announced the allocation of $72.9 million to 55 states and territories under the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP). This program aims to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops by supporting growers through marketing, education, and research initiatives. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack highlighted that this year's grant awards contribute to the over $1 billion investment in approximately 12,000 projects supporting the U.S. specialty crop industry. The program focuses on backing small and mid-sized producers and ensuring sustained access to fresh, locally grown specialty crop products. The funding, authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, is distributed to state agriculture departments, encouraging them to subaward funds to projects that address the needs of various specialty crop producers. These projects cover areas such as food safety, research, seed varieties, pest control, nutrition education, and distribution system improvements. 

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