The Washington State Department of Agriculture received word earlier this month that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved the state's application for $3.1 million in grant funding for projects to support fruit, vegetable and horticulture growers.
The USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant will fund 20 projects managed by the department and other Washington farm organizations to benefit the third largest specialty crop industry in the nation. Awards for individual projects range from $62,000 to $250,000.
"These federal dollars will help is support our fruit and vegetable farmers' top priorities for research and marketing," says Gov. Chris Gregoire. "We're fighting to create jobs all across Washington, and while agriculture continues to be a bright spot for economic development, we can't take it for granted.
"By investing in the future or our farm economy, we're planting the seed for a bountiful harvest."
The projects "will help our agricultural community manage some of its most pressing needs," says WSDA Director Dan Newhouse. "As we evaluated the many worthy proposals, we selected projects that were most likely to improve the profitability and viability of Washington fruit and vegetable growers."
Projects approved include the following:
$250,000 to Washington State University to improve management of hop powdery mildew and preserve the viability of the U.S. hop industry.
$248,750 to the Washington Wine Industry Foundation for a Washington State Clean Plant Campaign.
$163,940 to the WSDA Fruit & Vegetable Inspection Program and Food Safety & Consumer Services to support Bridging the GAPs, opening markets for small, mid-sized and diversified farms through GAP/GHP Education for farmers and auditors.
$203,900 to the Washington Apple Commission to support retail training in care, handling and merchandising with seminars and DVDs.
$214,215 to Washington State University to enhance tree fruit IPM decision-making through advances on WSU-DAS and training of growers and pest management advisors.
$172,477 to the Washington State Horticultural Association to the Growers Response to Agricultural Safe & Sustainable Practices program.
$170,241 to WSU for the spotted wing drosophila management program in tree fruit.
$163,940 to WSDA's Food Safety & Consumer Services to advance regulations and strategies for direct marketing specialty crops.
$150,964 to the Pacific Coast Cranberry Research Foundation to promote technology transfer for sustainable practices.
$125,000 to the Washington State Potato Commission for nematode management.
$112,957 to WSDA's Food Safety & Consumer Services to improve access to institutional markets for specialty crops through reduction of regulatory barriers.
$111,413 to Hop Growers of America to promote Chinese brewery education and promotion of hops.
$103,162 to Washington State University to advance food safety GAPs among special crop producers.
$100,000 to the Washington State Fruit Commission for a Celebrity Chef fruit promotion road show in Indonesia.
$78,470 to USDA and ARS to probe sanitization of soft fruits with ultraviolet light.
$74,990 to the Northwest Agricultural Business Center to develop a hard cider culture in western Washington.
$69,619 to the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance to improve access and effectiveness for producers through on-site specialty crop events.
$65,386 to Washington State University to develop a sustainability report card for concord grape producers.
$65,162 to WSU to track the organic sector.
$62,000 to the Washington State Horticultural Association to advance a fruit frost forecast.Learn more details about these projects at www.agr.wa.gov/Grants/SCBGP.aspx.