The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded Washington state nearly $5 million to support specialty crops in 2022.
The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) received the grant to fund 20 projects ranging from $106,000 to $250,000.
Grantees include non-profits, government organizations, universities and community colleges, and agricultural commissions.
Specialty Crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, horticulture, and nursery crops including floriculture.
The projects include efforts to control pests and diseases, improve food safety and minimize recalls, train and educate growers and food processors, improve innovative technologies, and market specialty crops.
USDA approved and announced the final specialty crop project list last week.
“This award covers numerous projects with a unified mission: to strengthen the viability and vitality of Washington agriculture and to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops,” Derek Sandison, WSDA Director, said.
The award continues a more than 15-year history of USDA support for Washington specialty-crops. Successes of the past include an eventual invention of red raspberry production, to make the product more compatible with baking. Other grants aided in helping growers mitigate certain mildew from hops, and showing the cost-benefit analysis for the Cosmic Crisp apple.
Requests for proposals for the 2023 grant cycle will be available in late October at agr.wa.gov/grants.
For questions regarding Washington state’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program requirements or eligibility, please email program manager Leisa Schumaker or call 360-485-1255.