Congressman Collin Peterson -- Minnesota's Seventh Congressional District
Press Release
October 16, 2009
Allison Myhre/218-731-1657

Peterson announces Minnesota specialty crop grant awards

(WASHINGTON , DC) — Congressman Collin Peterson today announced that the State of Minnesota has been awarded $578,000 for 13 projects under USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.  

“In the last Farm Bill I worked hard to include funding for these types of investments in fruit and vegetable production, conservation, nutrition and renewable energy,” Peterson said.

Through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, USDA is committed to increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops; improving efficiency and reducing costs of distribution systems; assisting all entities in the specialty crop distribution chain in developing Good Agricultural, Good Handling and Good Manufacturing practices, including cost share arrangements for funding audits of small farmer, packer and processor systems; investing in specialty crop research; enhancing food safety; developing new and improved specialty crop varieties; eradicating pest and plant health issues; and fostering organic and sustainable production practices.  

These projects are designed to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, which are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. Upon reviewing states' plans for funding, USDA selected projects that support local and rural agriculture interests, increase the competitiveness of small producers, and promote or create direct marketing opportunities for specialty crop producers.

With these funds, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture will: