jerseybites.com; Deborah Smith, Executive Editor: New Jersey has received an $816,127 Specialty Crop Block Grant to fund 13 initiatives to benefit Garden State crops such as fruits, vegetables, as well as horticulture and nursery. The grants are part of the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) efforts to promote specialty crops in the nation. Most of New Jersey agriculture falls into the specialty crop category. Specialty crops account for $882.4 million in sales annually in the Garden State.
“These USDA grants provide immeasurable benefits for our specialty crop producers,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “The organizations receiving the grants will use the funds toward research, market development, education and outreach, highlighting the many benefits a vibrant agriculture industry brings to the lives of Garden State residents.”
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture will use a portion of the funding to support the popular Jersey Fresh and Jersey Grown programs. A majority of the projects support agricultural marketing and cooperative development. Several research projects also are included.