Seventeen organizations have been selected to receive 22 specialty-crop grants, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced.
North Carolina’s specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, Christmas trees, turfgrass and sod, and nursery and greenhouse crops. Grant proposals were submitted by nonprofit organizations, commodity groups, government agencies and universities. The selected projects ranged from promoting N.C. sweet potatoes and blueberries to developing organic farming and growing a hops industry in North Carolina.
“We are pleased to be able to award nearly $1.2 million to 17 groups across the state,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “These projects will enhance the competitiveness of the state’s specialty crops in the marketplace, and help local farm families grow more profitable crops.”
The program is administered by the department and funded through a U.S. Department of Agriculture program established by the 2008 farm bill.
Following are the grant recipients. Numbers in parentheses denote number of grants an organization received if more than one: Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (two), Columbus County Cooperative Extension Service, N.C. Blueberry Council, N.C. Christmas Tree Association, N.C. Commercial Flower Growers Association, NCDA&CS, N.C. Greenhouse Vegetable Growers Association, N.C. Nursery and Landscape Association, N.C. Potato Association, N.C. Sod Producers Association, N.C. Strawberry Association, N.C. SweetPotato Commission, N.C. Vegetable Growers Association, N.C. State University (five), N.C. Watermelon Association, Preserve Heritage Agriculture and Regional Markets Now, Polk County Office of Agriculture Economic Development.
For more information on the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, go to www.NCSpecialtyCropGrant.org.