Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Department of Agriculture Offers Specialty Crop Growers Funds

The Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) is seeking grant applications from organizations or groups of individuals interested in enhancing the competitiveness of the state's specialty crop industry. Grant applications are due on July 31, 2009.

Applications will be considered on a competitive basis. Selected applications will be included in the Missouri specialty crop state plan and reviewed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and nursery crops, including floriculture. Some examples of enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops are research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, food safety and security, plant health, education, "buy local" programs, addressing environmental concerns and developing cooperatives.

In 2009, 15 projects were awarded. Those projects varied from promoting farmers’ markets statewide, to establishing local community gardens and after school-garden clubs, to researching the performance of seedless watermelons and establishing a voluntary online registry to help producers of pesticide-sensitive crops alert applicators to the crop’s location.

An application packet and program details for the specialty crop grant are available at mda.mo.gov or by contacting Tony Anderson at (573) 751-2969.

(PHOTO: Greater Polk County Farmers' Market in Bolivar.)

No comments: