Wednesday, May 27, 2009 by Lee Mannering
Get your share of $49 million in specialty crop block grants
The produce industry has a fantastic opportunity to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, thanks to $49 million in grant funds coming from USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).
The monies, authorized by last year’s farm bill, will be granted to U.S. state departments of agriculture, the District of Columbia and select U.S. territories. So if you have great ideas about how this money could be spent, connect with your ag department to discuss it. Examples of appropriate projects include building produce consumption, improving supply chain efficiencies, food safety (developing good agricultural/handling/manufacturing practices), sustainability and more.
Grant applications are due by August 26; funds will be obligated by September 30. It’s important that these state agencies hear the real-world needs of our industry right away, so that ideas can be turned into grant requests that move our industry forward.
As part of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance Implementation Committee, PMA is working to protect the historic gains our industry received in the 2008 farm bill. For more details on the grant program, visit the AMS Web site.