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NCDA&CS announces specialty crop block grant recipients

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RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services recently announced recipients of over $1.3 million in funding from the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. The funding will be used for projects that enhance the quality of specialty crops grown in North Carolina.

North Carolina’s specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, Christmas trees, turfgrass and sod, and nursery and greenhouse crops. Grant proposals were submitted by nonprofit organizations, commodity groups, government agencies and universities.

Some of the funding went to support the N.C. Good Agricultural Practices Program and the N.C. Water Analysis Program. Carolina Farm Stewardship received funding for its project called “Increasing Competitiveness: Food Safety and Quality.”
In addition, N.C. State University received funding for the following 10 research projects:

  • Attract and Kill for Managing Brown Marmorated Stink Bug;
  • Breeding Flavorful Disease Resistant Strawberry Cultivars;
  • Comprehensive Christmas Tree Management Using Drones;
  • Elongate Hemlock Scale and Fraser Fir;
  • Heirloom–Type Tomato Hybrids for Niche-Markets;
  • Hemlock Restoration in Nurseries and Landscapes;
  • Horizontal Planting to Improve Sweet Potato Production;
  • Improving Field Production of Grafted Tomatoes;
  • Postharvest Disease Control for Export Sweet Potatoes;
  • Tulip and Dutch Iris Extended Storage

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is administered by the department and funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the 2018 farm bill. More information about the program is available at

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