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USDA Awards $2.1 Million for Michigan Specialty Crop Block Grants
Michigan Ag Connection - 09/22/2022

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service awarded over $2.1 million in the Fiscal Year 2022 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) funding to Michigan effective October 1. This USDA grant will help the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) fund projects that enhance the competitiveness of the state's specialty crops and support specialty crop growers through marketing, education, and research.

"Michigan's food and agricultural industry is unique and innovative. We're home to a wide variety of specialty crops, from asparagus to cherries to onions," said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. "I deeply appreciate USDA's continued support for Michigan producers through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. These investments will allow for more innovative research and new market opportunities in Michigan's specialty crop sector."

Through the USDA's SCBGP, MDARD can fund 22 projects. Among the projects are dollars for the Michigan Bean Commission to enhance consumer awareness of the health benefits of incorporating nutrient dense dry beans in their daily diet. The organization will use conventional and digital strategies to educate consumers. Additional funded projects focus in areas such as disease management, marketing, and pest management.

"Michigan leads the nation in the production of many fruits and vegetables and is one of the top states in agricultural diversity. Our fruits, vegetables and nursery crops are not only a source of great pride -- they are critical to our state's economy." said Senator Stabenow. "This new support is a big win for Michigan agriculture. It will help our farmers keep their competitive edge and continue to provide healthy fruits and vegetables to American families."

"USDA applauds Michigan's continued commitment to supporting our nation's producers of fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program," said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. "The projects funded will foster innovative research and new market opportunities within the specialty crop sector, while furthering USDA's goals of creating a more fair and equitable food system and supporting local and regional producers."

The funding for the federal SCBGP is authorized by the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill and FY2022 USDA funding is awarded for a three-year period beginning September 30, 2022. Since 2006, USDA has invested more than $953 million through the SCBGP to fund 11,331 projects that have increased the long-term successes of producers and broadened the market for specialty crops in the U.S. and abroad.

More information about these awards is available at https://bit.ly/3UuyD1n.


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