The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has awarded $1 million in grant funding to specialty crop growers in the state to help them compete in today’s marketplace. Specialty crops include fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticultural and nursery crops. In 2015, specialty crops accounted for roughly 6% of all crop production in Minnesota. The MDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) Program receives funding under the current Farm Bill.
“These grants give farmers, producers, and researchers a way to increase the demand for the specialty crops they’re already growing,” said MDA Grants Coordinator David Weinand. “This year’s projects are maximizing the value of specialty crops and contributing to Minnesota’s greater agricultural economy. It’s exciting to see so many innovative projects receive funding.”
A variety of projects have been awarded grants, from breeding short season specialty crop varieties to statewide marketing campaigns and pest mitigation research. In addition to growers, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and universities all received funding to further a specialty crop industry or segment through the SCBG Program.
SCBG funding distribution began in November. For more information about the SCBG Program, including a list of awardees, visit the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program website or call the MDA Grants Line at 651-201-6500.
Alauna Yust, MDA Communications