The Woodward News

March 24, 2013

Grants available for specialty crops

Chris Cooper
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry recently announced that grants are available to promote the production of specialty crops.

Market Development Coordinator Jason Harvey said the USDA has made $380,000 available in grants to fund research into promoting such crops as a variety of fruits, nuts, vegetables, herbs, and cut flower crops.

Harvey explained that the grants allow agricultural organizations as well as individuals an opportunity to research growing techniques and the development of new specialty crop varieties, and then make that information publicly available.

By promoting this research, he said that the focus of the grants is to enhance the competitiveness of these specialty crops by increasing nutritional knowledge, improving production efficiency, reducing distribution cost, enhancing the safety of these foods, and developing new seed varieties.

Harvey said the grants are available to single organizations, institutions, as well as individuals.

He also explained that projects interested in receiving grant money must impact the specialty crop industry as a whole rather than solely benefit a single farming operation.

Those interested in applying for a grant can go online to ag.ok.gov/mktdev/scg.htm to find applications, a grant application manual, as well as an example of a previously funded project and an evaluation form.