Rep. Dennis Cardoza said California agriculture will benefit from nearly $17.3 million through the USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. The funding will support 64 separate projects to assist growers of fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture, according to a news release from his office.
The program is a component of the 2008 Farm Bill, of which Cardoza helped write as a member of the Conference Committee that developed the legislation. In all, the USDA awarded 54 grants across the country, totaling about $55 million and funding 827 projects.
California received 31 percent of the awarded funding, the news release said. It will support a host of partnership programs with grower associations, the California Farm Bureaus, and the University of California. The programs include everything from research and assistance with pest management and invasive species to marketing programs that encourage the purchase of California’s agriculture products.