More than $700,000 being awarded to the Garden State
By Diego Flammini, Farms.com
As part of the USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grants, New Jersey is set to receive $707,065 to fund 11 projects aimed at benefitting and furthering specialty crops in the state.
"This federal funding will go a long way to educating and promoting the benefits of produce and plants grown in the Garden State," said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher.
The United States Department of Agriculture awards these grants to promote specialty crops in the country and encourage economic development based on agriculture.
Specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, horticulture and nursery. In New Jersey, where a majority of agriculture falls into the specialty crop category, these kinds of crops contribute about $907 million in sales to the State’s economy.
Projects are eligible to receive funding because they’re designed to help specialty crops become more competitive; projects can include research, food safety, plant health programs, innovation and conservation.
Funded projects in New Jersey include:
- The New Jersey Agricultural Society will increase family consumption and interest in specialty crops with hands-on learning techniques at school gardens located at 20 new schools.
- The New Jersey Peach Promotion Council will use print and other media to advertise locally grown peaches.
- The New Jersey Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association will help producers market their products to customers through electronic and print media.
New Jersey’s top five agricultural commodities in 2014 were:
- Blueberries - $77 million worth were produced
- Corn - $47 million worth was produced
- Hay - $45 million worth was produced
- Soybeans - $44 million worth was produced
- Apples - $30 million worth were produced
In total, the United States Department of Agriculture will be awarding a total of $63 million to 755 projects across the country as part of the 2016 Specialty Crop Block Grants.
Join the discussion and tell us your thoughts on New Jersey receiving funds for 11 projects. How would you proceed to promote specialty crops in your state?