- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 26, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says it expects to administer nearly $540,000 in federal grants for the development of specialty crops.

The agency said in a news release that groups looking to improve the competitiveness of specialty crops in the state are eligible to submit proposals for grants of up to $60,000 per project.

Agricultural associations, industry and producer groups, community-based organizations, educational institutions and non-profits may submit applications. Individual producers are not eligible for the grants.

Specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and nursery crops that are not typically covered by traditional crop insurance.

VDACS said it will give priority to projects with the sole purpose of enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops as they pertain to improving food safety, increasing nutrition knowledge, enhancing sustainability and improving efficiency of distribution systems.

The deadline for submitting applications is March 23.

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