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For immediate release:
Sept. 27, 2013
WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, Washington
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$3.2 million in federal grants for Washington’s specialty
OLYMPIA — The
Washington State Department
of Agriculture (WSDA) received word that the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved the
state’s application for $3.2 million in grant funding
for nearly two dozen projects that will support the
state’s fruit, vegetable and horticulture growers.
In all, the
2013 USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant will fund 23
projects managed by WSDA in partnership with other
organizations to benefit Washington’s specialty crop
industry, the third largest in the nation. Specialty
crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts,
dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops, including
This year, wine and cider, pears
and blueberries, even Christmas trees, are among the
industries benefiting from the grants. The awards for
individual projects range from $40,000 to $238,000 and
will go to agricultural commodity commissions,
agricultural associations, non-profit organizations and
Washington State University. Nine of the recipients are
receiving these grants for the first time. The rules
require the projects to be completed within three years.
This year’s projects include those that expand
exports into new markets, increase the number of new
specialty crop farmers, resolve critical pest and
disease issues, build markets for emerging specialty
crops, address resource issues including energy, water
and labor, or develop new specialty crop varieties.
www.agr.wa.gov/Grants/SCBGP to see the list of
The USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant
Program was created to support the competitiveness of
the specialty crop industry. Visit
www.ams.usda.gov/scbgp for more information from the
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service.
these funds, WSDA selected projects that will directly
benefit specialty crop producers within the next five
years, address critical issues to the industry and
contain strong performance measures. Projects that
included matching funds or in-kind donations by the
applicant were given priority.
Each year, WSDA
conducts a competitive solicitation process to award the
funding. For this round, 74 pre-proposals were whittled
down to 42 full proposals. A 15-member industry review
panel then selected from those the most promising
projects to include in the state’s single grant
application to the USDA.
WSDA has received more
than $16 million over the past six years for projects
supported by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.
Only California and Florida have received higher funding
levels. Future funding opportunities are dependent on
the 2013 Farm Bill, currently pending authorization by
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