Specialty Crop Research Projects Receive Funding from USDA
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Specialty Crop Research Projects Receive Funding from USDA

Three grants, totaling more than $7 million, were awarded to projects at North carolina state university

August 2, 2016

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that it is awarding $36.5 million in grants for research and extension to support American farmers growing fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops including floriculture.

The grants are funded through the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Specialty Crop Research Initiative, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

"America's specialty crop farmers face many challenges ranging from a changing climate to increasing production costs. Investing in cutting edge research helps uncover solutions to keep their operations viable and ensures Americans have access to safe, affordable and diverse food options," said Tom Vilsack, U.S. Agriculture Secretary, in a written statement. "The universities, state departments of agriculture and trade associations that partner with USDA address challenges at the national and local levels to help sustain all parts of America's food and agriculture system, whether the farms are small or large, conventional or organic."

Of the 19 grants, three have been awarded to projects housed at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. Over $7 million in funding will enable researchers at the university to study brown marmorated stink bugs in specialty crops, explore vegetable grafting technologies, and examine breeding trait targets in blueberries and cranberries.

NIFA invests in and advances innovative and transformative initiatives to solve societal challenges and ensure the long-term viability of agriculture. To date, NIFA has awarded almost $400 million through the USDA's Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) program.