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USDA Announces Grants for Ohio Specialty Crop Producers
Ohio Ag Connection - 09/22/2023

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced over $604,000 in grants for Ohio specialty crop producers. The grants will fund seven projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crop products and create new market opportunities for Ohio farmers.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture will fund the projects with the grant money. One of the projects will provide peer-to-peer training on vegetable crop production, wholesale packaging standards, and food safety. Other projects will focus on advances in seed health, pest monitoring and mitigation, and the use of battery powered technology in specialty fruit crop settings.

The grant is part of the USDA's Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP), which provides funding to states to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops and support specialty crop growers through marketing, education, and research.

"USDA is excited to announce that this year's Specialty Crop Block Grant awards marks over $1 billion invested in nearly 12,000 projects that support the U.S. specialty crop industry," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is a critical piece of USDA and the Biden-Harris Administration's efforts to support small and mid-sized producers and ensure Americans have sustained access to fresh, locally grown specialty crop products."

The SCBGP is funded by the 2018 Farm Bill. States are encouraged to sub-award funding to projects that address the needs of U.S. producers of fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops.

The SCBGP grants will benefit Ohio farmers in a number of ways. The grants will help farmers to improve their production practices, reduce costs, and access new markets. The grants will also support research and development of new technologies and products that can help farmers to be more successful.

The SCBGP grants will help to make Ohio's specialty crop industry more competitive and sustainable. This will benefit Ohio farmers and consumers alike.

How to Apply for SCBGP Grants

To apply for SCBGP grants, farmers and other eligible entities should contact their state department of agriculture. The application process varies from state to state, so be sure to check with your state department of agriculture for more information.

The USDA's Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is a valuable resource for specialty crop producers in Ohio. The program provides funding for a variety of projects that can help farmers to improve their production practices, reduce costs, and access new markets. If you are a specialty crop producer in Ohio, I encourage you to learn more about the SCBGP and how to apply for grants.

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