- Associated Press - Thursday, April 17, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The amount of federal money North Dakota will receive this year for grants to develop specialty crops is increasing nearly sevenfold over 2013.

The state will receive $3.1 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, up from $483,000 last year. State Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring attributed the increase to an emphasis on specialty crops in the new farm bill that was signed into law in February.

The federal government defines specialty crops as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops. Specialty crops grown commercially in North Dakota include dry beans, dry peas, lentils, potatoes, confection sunflowers, grapes, honey and various vegetables.

Grant applications are due May 23. Grants will be awarded later this year.

“Eligible applications include developing new and improved seed varieties, reducing distribution costs, investing in specialty crop research, enhancing food safety, pest and disease control and development of local and regional food systems,” Goehring said in a statement. “Projects that directly benefit specific, commercial products or profit a single organization, institution or individual are not eligible.”



Information manual: www.nd.gov/ndda/program/specialty-crop-block-grant-program



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