USDA has awarded 55 grants totaling approximately $49 million for 745 projects to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, which are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. Upon reviewing states' plans for funding, USDA selected projects that support local and rural agriculture interests, increase the competitiveness of small producers and promote or create direct marketing opportunities for specialty crop producers.
"Developing local and regional food systems that spur economic opportunity is the purpose of our 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' initiative and these grants today are a significant part of achieving that goal," said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, who announced the grants. "We are pleased to be continuing this partnership in every state across the country to support their diverse efforts to promote healthy eating and grow specialty crop markets by expanding access to fresh, local foods."
Read the original news release.