Indiana specialty crop sector awarded nearly $460,000


Indiana specialty crop sector awarded nearly $460,000

The Indiana State Department of Agriculture has awarded nearly $460,000 to four projects designed to grow the state specialty crop sector. The funding was provided by the USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch says specialty crops – including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops— are big business for Indiana.

“Our state grows over 30 types of specialty crops and ranks as a top five producer in the nation in many crops like melons, pumpkins, tomatoes and mint,” she says.

The ISDA says the grants are available annually to non-profit and for-profit organizations, governments and public or private colleges and universities for up to a three-year project term and will fund specialty crop research, education and market development. To qualify, projects must aim to benefit the industry as a whole, rather than one product, individual or organization.

Some of the projects awarded this grant cycle include Purdue University’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture developing hydroponic technologies to increase organic lettuce production and stability and Purdue Extension identifying suitable food contact surfaces and best practices for managing these surfaces in compliance with the FDA’s Food Safeyt Modernization Act’s Produce Safety Rule.

ISDA Director Bruce Kettler says “this funding from USDA is critical to advancing our specialty crop sector and based on this year’s grantees, many different research areas will be impacted.”

ISDA is reviewing applications submitted through the second solicitation and expects to announce selected projects in the spring of 2022.