Specialty Crop Block Grant
$3.4 Million for Initiatives to Help Beginning FarmersThe USDA released a press release on September 24 announcing its investment in grants to support America’s specialty producers through the Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBC) Program awards. Of the $54 million, almost $3.4 million is going to initiatives that help new and beginning farmers. Excerpt: The funding includes 54 block grants to U.S. states and territories that will support 694 initiatives nationwide. These grants will assist producers of fresh fruits and vegetables and help strengthen markets for specialty crops such as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops, including floriculture. "These investments will strengthen rural American communities by supporting local and regional markets and improving access to fresh, high quality fruits and vegetables for millions of Americans," said Secretary Vilsack. "These grants also help growers make food safety enhancements, solve research needs, and make better informed decisions to increase profitability and sustainability." Since 2006, the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which is administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), has awarded over $293 million. The program is part of USDA's integrated approach to programs and policies that stimulate food- and agriculturally-based community economic development. A growing number of specialty crop producers are selling into local and regional markets. This year, all of the states and territories receiving Specialty Crop Block Grants are funding projects related to local and regional food systems. You can access the entire press release here.