Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced the award of block grants to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. Merrigan announced the awards at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture annual meeting.
The 54 grants announced total approximately $55 million, and will fund 827 projects, a 10 percent increase over last year. This supports the competitiveness of specialty crops and America's specialty crop farmers. The funds will be used by the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.