Minnesota receives $500 thousand for grant program
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Specialty crop growers in Minnesota can apply for grants to help them remain competitive in the marketplace. The grants, available under the Minnesota Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, are designed to be used for projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops or that benefit a specialty crop industry. The state received $500 thousand for the program from the 2008 federal farm bill.
The Minnesota Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is administered by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Agricultural Marketing Services Division. Specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, culinary herbs and spices, medicinal plants, tree nuts, flowers, and nursery plants.
MDA Marketing Director Kurt Markham says the grants provide an extra level of support for projects that might otherwise not get off the ground.
"In the past, individuals and groups have used these grants for projects that extend beyond basic publicity and promotion," Markham said. "The grants provide support for specialty crop producers, including socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers of specialty crops."
Grant projects may include outreach to increase consumers’ nutritional knowledge about the consumption of specialty crops, assistance in the development of good agricultural practices, investment in specialty crop research, developing new and improved seed varieties, and pest and disease control.
MDA will accept grant applications through July 24, 2009. For a complete list of acceptable crops, see www.ams.usda.gov/scbgp.
A grant manual is available on the MDA website at www.mda.state.mn.us/grants/grants/specialtycropgrant.htm.
Questions about the grant program or application process can be directed to Lisa Wu, at 651-201-6089, or email: Fang.firstname.lastname@example.org.
CONTACT: Margaret Hart, Communications Coordinator, 651-201-6131