On Thursday, USDA announced it was awarding $72.9 million in Specialty Crop Block Grant program funding for Fiscal Year 2022.  The funding, via AMS, will go to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.


For the Pacific Northwest, the state of Washington was awarded over $4.7 million for FY 2022.  This USDA grant will help the Washington State Department of Agriculture fund projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in the state and support specialty crop growers through marketing, education, and research.  During Thursday’s announcement in Woodinville, WSDA Director Derek Sandison pointed out that Washington is known for producing over 300 commodities, many of which are specialty crops.


“We lead the nation in production of apples and pears, sweet cherries, and many other crops.  We’re number two in potatoes and other important crops, and we couldn’t do what we do in terms of competing nationally and internationally without high quality products that are supported by the research that’s done through Specialty Crops.”


During her stop in western Washington, USDA undersecretary Jenny Moffitt announced the 20 projects for Washington.


“This is about education, its about research, it’s about promoting and growing specialty crops across the country.  So, we are excited to announce that we funded 600 projects [nationwide] through the Specialty Crop Block Grant."


Among the projects, is more than $249,000 in funding for the Southwest Washington League of United Latin American Citizens.  The organization will use the funding to support education for farmers, improve access to farmland, and increase the supply of fresh produce to underserved consumers.  Additional funded projects focus in areas such as research, food safety, pest management, and education.


Meanwhile, Oregon and Idaho were both awarded $2 million.



In Idaho, the state Department of Agriculture will fund 16 projects.  Among the projects, is $251,174 to ISDA’s Idaho Preferred® program.  The program will use the funds to continue to promote Idaho specialty crops using traditional and digital marketing strategies.  Additional funded projects focus in areas such as irrigation management, natural resource conservation, and soil health.


Meanwhile the Oregon Department of Agriculture is funding 15 projects.  Among the projects, is a Northwest Cider Association project to address domestic market development and access issues that will benefit up to 80 Oregon cideries.  The association will host a national cider conference, in-bound buyers’ events, media events, and promote Oregon Cider Week in order to achieve their objectives.  Additional funded projects focus in areas such as pest management, food safety, and youth education.


Visit AMS' Website for a list of funded projects nationwide.


If you have a story idea for the PNW Ag Network, call (509) 547-1618, or e-mail glenn.vaagen@townsquaremedia.com 

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