Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding recently announced that Pennsylvania was awarded more than $1 million in federal funds for 11 projects aimed at increasing the visibility, quality, and competitive standing of the state’s horticultural specialty crops, including fruit, vegetables, nursery plants, flowers, honey, and nuts.
The grants are among 587 funded projects totaling $72.9 million awarded nationwide through the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s Specialty Crop Block Grant program, which is administered by the state.
I’m n Berks County, Rodale Institute was awarded $127,208 to identifying effective alternatives to chemical herbicides in organic apple orchards.
“Pennsylvania specialty crops are second to none for providing vital nutrition our families need,” Secretary Redding said. “These grants help Pennsylvania growers stay at the top of their field, in-demand by consumers, and at the cutting edge of technology to stay ahead of disease, pest, and climate threats. The Shapiro Administration is working in partnership with the Biden Administration to keep Pennsylvania farms feeding the world.”
The commonsense, bipartisan budget Governor Shapiro signed into law spurs innovation, cuts red tape, and provides funding to make Pennsylvania businesses — including specialty crop producers — more competitive nationally. Among other support for agriculture, the 2023-24 budget invests $13.8 million in a fifth year of the PA Farm Bill, which includes the state’s own Commonwealth Specialty Crop Block Grant program to enhance the federal program. The PA Farm Bill also makes critical investments in building the workforce, processing infrastructure, and marketing opportunities the industry needs, and in removing barriers standing between the industry and those who want to be part of its future.
Specialty Crop Block Grants announced fund projects focused on marketing, research, grower education, and sustainability for mushrooms, apples, floriculture, pumpkins, and other crops Pennsylvania ranks among top producers of in the nation.