Specialty Crop Industry: USDA Announces More Than $243 Million in Grants

Clint Thompson Fruit, Top Posts, Vegetables

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today an investment of more than $243 million in grants to support specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts and nursery crops through two USDA programs – the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and the Specialty Crop Research Initiative grants program.

USDA is investing $169.9 million through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) to support farmers growing specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts and nursery crops. Since 2006, USDA has invested more than $880 million through SCBGP to increase the long-term success of producers and broaden the market for specialty crops in the U.S. and abroad.

The funding, authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill ($72.9 million) and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (P.L. 116-260) ($97 million), will provide non-competitive SCBGP funding to the departments of agriculture in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories. The 56 grant recipients fund sub-awards for activities and programs to increase demand for agricultural goods and address issues facing the specialty crop industry including food safety, plant pests and disease, research, education, and marketing and promotion.

Additionally, for P.L. 116-260 Stimulus funding, states were encouraged to prioritize projects that respond to COVID-19 impacts. This may include projects to assist farmworkers and projects to fund farmers, food businesses, and other relevant entities to respond to risks and supply chain disruptions.

“This historic level of funding will help the specialty crops industry recover from the effects of the pandemic,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Over the coming months as we work diligently to transform our food system, you will continue to see Build Back Better funding announced that includes a mix of grants, loans, and innovative financing mechanisms.”