The Indiana State Department of Agriculture has awarded $459,866 to four projects designed to grow the state’s specialty crop sector, under the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops.
Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, who also serves as the state’s Secretary of Agriculture, said: “Specialty crops are big business for Indiana. Our state grows over 30 types of specialty crops and ranks as a top five producer in the nation in many crops like melons, pumpkins, tomatoes and mint. I look forward to seeing the industry grow from the research funded by these grants.”
Every year, Specialty Crop Block Grants are available to non-profit and for-profit organizations, governments and public or private colleges and universities for up to a three-year project term and will fund specialty crop research, education and market development. To qualify, projects must aim to benefit the industry as a whole, rather than one product, individual or organization. Applications undergo a competitive scoring process, including review by an external scoring committee.