The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets announced grants totaling $254,117 for seven projects.
These grants, funded through the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, were awarded to five agricultural organizations for a range of research, technology development, education, marketing, and program-building projects.
The grants will leverage over $161,000 in additional matching funds to support Vermont specialty crops.
“Vermont’s Specialty Crop grants provide critical industry support for growing viable businesses and also fund research to help producers overcome persistent challenges, innovate, and diversify,” said Ag Secretary Anson Tebbetts.
“We are thankful for our Congressional delegation’s continued commitment to the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which works to strengthen Vermont’s agricultural economy and maintain our working landscape,” Tebbetts continued.
Since the program started in 2006, the Vermont SCBGP has invested over $2.3 million in projects to benefit Vermont specialty crop producers.
A proposal review committee selected the winning projects out of 22 applications representing total funding requests of over $673,000:
- University of Vermont Entomology Research Laboratory to develop techniques for field production of saffron in Vermont ($30,000)
- Salvation Farms to provide institutional access to Vermont’s surplus crops ($24,542)
- University of Vermont Department of Plant & Soil Science to research regionally adapted entomopathogenic nematodes as a biological control for Colorado potato beetle ($40,563)
- The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont for organic specialty crop costs of production research and technical assistance to enhance farm viability ($39,673)
- University of Vermont Fruit Program to evaluate wine grape cultivars and conduct virus screenings to support the Vermont grape industry ($33,680)
- Green Mountain Farm to School to expand the Vermont Harvest of the Month program through production planning with schools to increase specialty crop sales ($32,660)
- The Vermont Agency of Agriculture to develop a direct to consumer marketing program ($53,000)