October 1, 2012
On Monday, October 1, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced a total of $101 million in funding for specialty crops through the 2012 Specialty Grant Program (SCBG) awards and the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) awards for 2012. The 2012 funding includes specialty crop block grants to each state funding 748 projects nationwide for a total of $55 million, and also $41 million in specialty crop research funding. Both of these programs assist producers of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Of the $55 million funding SCBG awards:
The SCRI awards included three genomics, two breeding, two plant disease awards, plus one project each in production automation, local food and sustainable systems, pollination, biopesticide development, market research, and a planning grant. Ten awards went to land grant universities, one to an industry foundation, and three to the Agricultural Research Service.
Future at Risk
On a press call announcing the awards, Vilsack noted that “these [programs] are some of the casualties of Congressional inaction” on the new farm bill.
Both Specialty Crop Block Grants and the Specialty Crop Research Initiative will be unable to make any future grants until the farm bill reauthorization is complete, which is also the case for a number of other expiring programs. Today, October 1, 2012, marks the first day without a farm bill.
To read USDA’s press release, click here.
To read more about farm bill expiration and what it means, read out FAQ post.