- Associated Press - Friday, February 13, 2015

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - More than a half-million dollars in federal grants are available under a program aimed at promoting specialty crops.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is accepting applications for the grants until April 2. Grants of up to $60,000 are available under the anticipated $565,000 the state expects to receive.

Specialty crops do not include common field crops such as corn and peanuts. They do include nursery crops, dried fruit and tree nuts, among others.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers the grants to improve the competitiveness of specialty crops. Applicants are weighed on a number of factors. They include development of organic and sustainable production practices and improved food access to underserved communities.

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