Pennsylvania Awarded $1 Million in Federal Grants to Boost Sales of Vegetable, Fruit, Nut, and Nursery Crops

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today announced that Pennsylvania was awarded more than $1 million in federal funds for 11 projects aimed at increasing the visibility, quality, and competitive standing of the state’s horticultural specialty crops, including fruit, vegetables, nursery plants, flowers, honey, and nuts. The grants are among 587 funded projects totaling $72.9 million awarded nationwide through the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s Specialty Crop Block Grant program, which is administered by the state.

“Pennsylvania specialty crops are second to none for providing vital nutrition our families need,” Secretary Redding said. “These grants help Pennsylvania growers stay at the top of their field, in-demand by consumers, and at the cutting edge of technology to stay ahead of disease, pest, and climate threats.”

Specialty Crop Block Grants announced today fund projects focused on marketing, research, grower education, and sustainability for mushrooms, apples, floriculture, pumpkins, and other crops Pennsylvania ranks among top producers of in the nation.

Grantees, amounts, and project descriptions are as follows:

Rodale Institute, Berks County — $127,208

Identifying effective alternatives to chemical herbicides in organic apple orchards

Penn State University, Centre County — $74,519

Development and testing of plasma agriculture technology to increase food safety and improve vegetable quality and yield

Penn State University, Centre County — $63,447

Validating effectiveness of a new biopesticide for treating fire blight in apple trees

Penn State University, Centre County — $98,756

Monitoring viral threats to tree fruit nurseries

Penn State University, Centre County — $97,761

Developing precision agriculture technology to improve quality, yield, and energy-efficiency in indoor urban growing systems. Includes grower education.

Penn State University, Centre County — $70,750

Developing techniques to control flies on mushrooms using their natural enemies. Includes grower education.

 American Mushroom Institute, Chester County — $84,915

Educating farmers on assessing pricing and input costs to better project costs and improve sustainability

Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Program, Dauphin County — $89,635

PA Veggies marketing program to promote PA-grown specialty crops in season and drive consumer demand

Planet Bee Foundation, Philadelphia County — $63,467

Apiculture Training Program: Sustainable Honey Path, an apprenticeship for prospective beekeepers

Strategic Contracting, Inc., Philadelphia County — $70,780

Showcasing PA specialty crop farmers and food suppliers on the PA Preferred® Culinary Connection stage during the PA Farm Show, Pennsylvania’s State Fair®