The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that it will invest $52 million in Specialty Crop Block Grants, a program funded authorized the 2008 Farm Bill, to support producers of fresh fruits and vegetables and other specialty crops. The funding will support 694 initiatives in 54 states and territories and help to strengthen the markets for a variety of specialty crops, including: fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, nursery crops and floriculture. In 2011, California received about $17 million to support more than 70 grants
The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is designed to increase and promote opportunities for specialty crop producers by increasing access to quality products and by supporting local and regional markets. The grants support a multitude of initiatives covering everything from nutrition, sustainability, profitability, disease and pest control to food safety, research, as well as organic, handling and manufacturing practices.
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