MONTGOMERY, AL - Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks says the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries (ADAI) will receive $442,987.67 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Specialty crops are fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops, including floriculture.
ADAI funding from the program will provide grants for 20 specialty crop projects. The grants won't exceed $25,000 each.
The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is committed to increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops; improving efficiency and reducing costs of distribution systems; assisting all entities in the specialty crop distribution chain in developing Good Agricultural, Good Handling and Good Manufacturing practices, including cost share arrangements for funding audits of small farmer, packer and processor systems; investing in specialty crop research; enhancing food safety; developing new and improved specialty crop varieties; eradicating pest and plant health issues; and fostering organic and sustainable production practices.
Sparks thanked the USDA for releasing funding for the program.
"Funding for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is a positive reflection of the recent USDA 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' initiative," said Sparks. "The 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' initiative emphasizes the need for a fundamental and critical reconnection between producers and consumers."
Information Courtesy: Commissioner Sparks' office