USDA allocates $55 million for specialty crops
Almost $1 million are dedicated to tree fruit and grape projects in Washington.
The Washington State Department of Agriculture has allocated $3.7 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s specialty crop grants program to 27 projects designed to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Almost $1 million are dedicated to projects directly relating to tree fruit and grape production.
The USDA made $55 million available nationwide, up from $49 million last year. Each state receives a portion of the total funding based on its production value. Within each state, awards are made to projects on a competitive basis.
California received $17.3 million through the program. One of the projects the California Department of Food and Agriculture is funding with the money is a $685,000 research project submitted by the National Grape and Wine Initiative and the Wine Institute to develop green chemistry and cleaning processes for California wineries and food processors to reduce salts in the waste stream and improve water quality.
In Washington, Rianne Perry, specialty crop grant administrator at the WSDA, said the department had received requests to fund 72 projects this year. Nine of the 27 projects funded in Washington State are specifically designed to benefit the tree fruit and grape industries. They are:
• Center for Produce Safety, $58,885 to determine the occurrence of microbial contaminants on fresh apples and identify practices to mitigate them;
• Washington Apple Commission, $216,286 for retail training in export markets;
• Washington Wine Industry Foundation, $128,250 to help wineries improve sustainable practices;
• Pear Bureau Northwest, $100,000 for market development and consumer education in Mexico;
• Washington State Horticultural Association, $58,500 to study economic aspects of the tree fruit industry;
• Washington State University’s Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center, $199,108 to educate growers and farmworkers about new insecticides;
• Yakima Valley Growers-Shippers Association, $75,700 to improve coordination between county horticultural pest and disease boards;
• WSDA, $33,094 to conduct a European grapevine moth survey; and
• Washington Growers Clearing House Association, $99,500 to conduct an acreage survey.
For a complete list of the awards in all states click here.