Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jola Szubielski 518-457-0752
Dave Bullard 315-487-7711 x 1377

April 30, 2015

State Agriculture Commissioner Announces $600,000 in Federal Funding to Support and Grow New York State’s Specialty Crops

Funding available for research and grower education projects to boost competitiveness of New York farms and enhance long-term viability of agri-businesses

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced $600,000 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to support and grow New York State’s specialty crops, which include fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, hops, and nursery crops. These crops rank highly in the nation in terms of both production and economic value.  The Specialty Crop Block Grant program, administered through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, will address a wide range of challenges and opportunities related to the competitiveness of the State’s specialty crop industry.  A portion of the program will focus on research and grower education projects that will create new partnerships, increase inefficiencies, reduce costs, foster innovation and enhance the long-term viability of specialty crop agri-businesses across the State.

Commissioner Ball said, “The Specialty Crop Block Grant program is a valuable resource available to help farmers improve their practices, enhance operations and remain competitive. We look forward to seeing comprehensive project proposals that address the key needs of our farmers and provide innovative solutions to further grow the industry.”

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, in partnership with the New York Farm Viability Institute (NYFVI), is soliciting proposals for projects focused on research and grower education. The NYFVI will evaluate the proposals and submit its recommendations to the Department for inclusion in the agency’s application to the USDA.

NYFVI Board of Directors Chair Jim Bittner said, “The Farm Viability Institute has a great system already in place to solicit and evaluate agriculture research project proposals.  We are pleased to partner with the Department of Agriculture and Markets in delivering the Specialty Crop Block Grant program.” 

Funding is being provided through the Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004 (amended under the federal 2014 Farm Bill), which authorizes the USDA to provide state assistance for specialty crop competitiveness programs.

To apply for the Specialty Crop Block Grant program, please visit NYFVI’s online application system at  Eligible applicants include not-for-profit organizations, not-for-profit educational institutions, and state, local and Indian tribal governments. Applications are due May 26, 2015.   Projects must be completed within two years from the award date.  Awards are expected to be announced in June 2015.

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