USDA Announces Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Funding Awarded to Connecticut
WASHINGTON, August 23, 2023—The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today awarded over $403,000 in Fiscal Year 2023 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) funding to Connecticut. With this grant, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture (CT DoAg) will fund projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crop products and create new market opportunities for the state’s specialty crop producers.
“With this year’s Specialty Crop Block Grant funding, Connecticut is investing in innovative projects that will help address the needs of specialty crop producers within the region,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “The funded projects will also further USDA’s efforts to ensure U.S. specialty crop products remain competitive in markets across the nation and abroad.”
Through the SCBGP, the CT DoAg will fund five projects. Among CT DoAg’s projects, is the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station’s research on ways to support vineyards in their pest management strategy regarding the invasive spotted lanternfly. Additional funded projects focus in areas such as organic amendments to reduce crop drought stress, marketing the expansion of CT Grown wines into package stores and restaurants, establishing a commissary honey house and training hub, and increasing access and awareness of Connecticut Grown specialty crops to urban consumers.
“The dedicated funding through USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant program has enabled Connecticut to support strategic investments in projects that will bolster production and marketing of the diverse array of specialty crops available in our state,” said Connecticut Department of Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt. “Since the inception of this program, Connecticut has been able to provide more than $6.8 million in funding to more than 65 projects benefiting a wide variety of specialty crop producers.”
The funding to Connecticut is part of a total of $72.9 million in non-competitive FY 2023 SCBGP funding awarded to 54 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 FY2023 funding is awarded for a three-year period beginning Sept. 30, 2023. Since 2006, USDA has invested over $1 billion through the SCBGP to fund nearly 12,000 projects that have increased the long-term successes of producers and enhanced marketing opportunities for U.S. specialty crops products.
More information about these awards is available on this webpage: 2023 SCBGP Awarded Grants (pdf).