USDA Announces Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Funding Awarded to Tennessee

Thursday, August 25, 2022 | 12:48pm

WASHINGTON,—The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today awarded over $545,000 in Fiscal Year 2022 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) funding to Tennessee. This USDA grant will help the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) fund projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in the state and support specialty crop growers through marketing, education, and research.

“USDA applauds Tennessee’s continued commitment to supporting our nation’s producers of fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “The projects funded will foster innovative research and new market opportunities within the specialty crop sector, while furthering USDA’s goals of creating a more fair and equitable food system and supporting local and regional producers.”

Through the SCBGP, TDA will award funding to 13 specialty crop projects. Among the projects, is an award of $50,000 to Cul2vate, an organization that delivers nutritional food to local food deserts and underserved communities. The funding will allow the organization to provide end user education related to nutrition, food safety, good agricultural practices, and the implementation of urban agriculture projects. The project will also focus on equipping chronically underemployed individuals with agricultural skills. Other projects being funded focus in areas such as research, best practices, pest management, and youth education.

“Funds from specialty crop block grants benefit Tennessee producers now and in the future,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M., said. “TDA prioritizes projects that affect multiple producers and those that lay a foundation for future growers. The grant projects we award are forward-thinking and can be used for teaching or research.”

The funding to Tennessee is part of a total of $72.9 million in non-competitive FY 2022 SCBGP funding awarded to 55 states, territories and the District of Columbia. The SCBGP funding supports farmers growing specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops. USDA’s support will strengthen U.S. specialty crop production and markets, ensuring an abundant, affordable supply of highly nutritious fruits, vegetables, and other specialty crops, which are vital to the health and well-being of all Americans.

The funding for the SCBGP grants is authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill and FY2022 funding is awarded for a three-year period beginning September 30, 2022. Since 2006, USDA has invested more than $953 million through the SCBGP to fund 11,331 projects that have increased the long-term successes of producers and broadened the market for specialty crops in the U.S. and abroad.

More information about these awards is available on this webpage: 2022 SCBGP Awarded Grants (pdf).