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Grants available for speciality crops

Application deadline is Dec. 31.

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is encouraging industry groups, academia, and community based-organizations to apply for grants to assist specialty crop production. The grants are available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service, and will be awarded to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.

"This is an opportunity for specialty crop stakeholders to fund projects that will benefit the specialty crop industry as a whole," said Jed Christenson, Director of Marketing for UDAF. Specialty crop grants have been awarded the last two years funding 19 projects that varied from researching the use of drought tolerant native flora or controlling weeds in onions, to the use of scent baited traps in orchards to control insects in lieu of pesticides.

The deadline for submitting an application to receive a portion of the allocated $105,000 is Dec. 31. An application packet and full program overview is available on line at or by calling Jed Christenson at (801) 538-7108.

Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, and nursery crops (including floriculture).

To be eligible for a specialty crop grant from the State, projects must enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.

Examples of "enhancing competitiveness" of specialty crops includes, but is not limited to: research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, plant health programs, education, buy local programs, increased consumption, increased innovation, improved efficiency and reduced costs of distribution systems, environmental concerns and conservations, product development, and developing cooperatives.

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