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Specialty crop grants awarded to 18 projects featuring organic

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) was first incorporated in the Farm Bill in 2008 to support specialty crop producers and consumers. Since then, SCBGP has been an important program for organic specialty crop producers, who have faced increasing market demand for decades. The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized SCBGP at historic levels, with a mandatory $85 million available per year. 

Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced $72.9 million awarded to 55 states and territories through SCBGP. 18 of the awards that went to 15 state departments of agriculture include organic practices in their projects. The projects represent nearly $2 million in funding for specialty crop marketing, education, and research benefiting organic.  

Arizona, Florida and Hawaii will all study organic-friendly methods for pest management in lettuce, celery and parsley, and brassica crops respectively. Angelic Organics Learning Center will increase access to specialty crops among underserved communities in Illinois. The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association will continue to host educational opportunities for specialty crop farmers. You can find the project titles for each program featuring organic below, and click here and search “organic” to browse the description of each award. 


Project Title

Arizona Department of Agriculture 

Mobile Trap Crops for Organic Vegetable IPM 
California Department of Food and Agriculture  Sharing Nutritional Benefits of California Prune and Plum Juices to Build Sales Among United States Families 
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services  Management of a New Weevil Pest of Celery and Related Apiaceous Crops 
Georgia Department of Agriculture  Chemical Constituents of Pine Bark for Nematode Control 
Hawaii Department of Agriculture  Hawaii Integrated Pest Management Program for Diamondback Moth to Increase the Sustainability of Crucifer Crops 
Illinois Department of Agriculture  Increasing Access to Specialty Crops Among Underserved Communities Through Culturally Appropriate Market and Educational Opportunities in Rockford 
Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry  Examine the Application of Organic Friendly Antimicrobial Agents Such as Propionic and Lactic Acid Against Microbial Risks on Specialty Crops 
Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry  MOFGA’s Maine Produce Safety Improvement and FSMA PSR Certification Project 
Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry  Meeting House Herb Farm Increasing Sustainability of Maine Farms with Herbs 
Maryland Department of Agriculture  Educate Maryland Farmers How to Grow for Local Schools 
Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce  Evaluation of Sweet Potato Practices on Nutritional Quality During Long-Term Storage 
Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce  Containerized Organic Production of Turmeric in Mississippi 
Montana Department of Agriculture  Control of Soilborne Disease Using Beneficial Bacteria for Organic Pea Growers 
Montana Department of Agriculture  Exploring Intercropping and Essential Oils to Control Fusarium Root Rot of Pea 
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture  Weed Management Strategies for Organic High-Density Apple Orchards 
Tennessee Department of Agriculture  Pick TN Conference Attendee Scholarships, AV Costs and Speakers 
Texas Department of Agriculture  Boosting Organic Leafy Green Production Using Summer-Adapted Cover Crops in Texas 
Vermont Agency of Agriculture  The Changing Landscape of Allium Pest Management on Vermont Diversified Vegetable Farms 

By Laura Holm, Legislative and Farm Policy Associate