As part of our continuing education efforts, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is pleased to announce the next installment of our webinar series. This episode is designed for people interested in applying for grants offered through local state departments of agriculture for our Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.
Specialty crops are a subset of the produce industry that includes fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, nuts, horticulture, and nursery crops. AMS offers funds to help the specialty crop industry promote its products via tools like marketing campaigns and educational programs. In October, we offered grants to support projects in 50 U.S. states, four territories, and the District of Columbia that encourage the consumption of specialty crops. We are holding this webinar to increase awareness of this program and let people know how they can apply for a grant.
In addition to the health benefits of increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables, specialty crop grants help support the local businesses that produce these crops. Here at AMS, we take great pride in opening doors and expanding opportunities for our specialty crop producers.
When looking at this year’s projects, we are pleased that our grants helped producers improve their distribution models and overcome other business challenges. For instance, projects like the partnership between the California Department of Agriculture and the Sacramento Area Council of Governments to assess whether they can develop a food hub to send specialty crops to food banks, or the Friends of Zenger Farm initiative in Oregon to increase the number of community farms that accept SNAP. Our hope is that others will be inspired by projects like this and that they will watch Grant Opportunity: Enhancing the Competitiveness of Specialty Crops, the next in the series. Viewers will be able to learn more about our program by listening to Trista Etzig, the manager of the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.
The next episode in our series will take place on Dec. 15. We encourage you to register before the Dec. 9, deadline and check out some of the previous topics covered in the webinar series prior to watching the current episode.