The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded Washington state $4.7 million to support specialty crop projects in 2022.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture announced in a news release the grant will fund 20 specialty crop projects, with awards ranging from $106,000 to $250,000. Specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops.

“This award covers numerous projects with a unified mission: to strengthen the viability and vitality of Washington agriculture and to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops,” Derek Sandison, WSDA director, said in the release.

Projects funded in 2022 include:

—Center for Produce Safety, $250,000 to study the interaction between listeria and resident microbial communities on whole pears during cold storage.

—Washington State University, $249,670 to support efforts to improve honey bee health through education, training and a resource library.

—WSU, $249,560 to research and develop strategies to ensure reliable pollination for Washington apple crops.

—Northwest Cider Association, $249,337 to develop markets for craft cider made with Washington-grown apples and other specialty crops.

—U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, $248,700 to research biological control of insect pests, including pear psylla, in non-crop habitats.

—WSU, $235,457 to study alternative sampling techniques for timely vineyard nutrient management.

—Washington State Wine Commission, $205,200 to develop a sustainable strategy to control grapevine leafroll-associated virus through mating disruption of grape mealybugs.

—WSU, $202,216 to develop solutions to manage blue mold in pome fruit and reduce food loss.

—WSU, $196,604 to rebuild the Pesticide Information Center OnLine (PICOL) database.

—Washington Wine Industry Foundation, $125,987 to update cost-of-production calculators to mitigate financial risk for Washington wine grape and wine producers.

According to the release, WSDA selected the projects through a competitive two-phase process. A complete list is available online at:

Requests for proposals for the 2023 grant cycle will be available online in late October at: For questions regarding Washington state’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program requirements or eligibility, email program manager Leisa Schumaker at:, or call: 360-485-1255.

by Jonelle Mejica