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NCDA&CS announces specialty crop block grant recipients

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced funding for 16 projects from the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program in 2018

“North Carolina received over $1.2 million in funding to enhance the quality of specialty crops grown in our state,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “The selected projects range from pest maintenance and production improvements to marketing and social media campaigns.”

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is administered by the department and funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the 2014 farm bill.

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.

Following are 2018 grant recipients and selected projects. Eleven awards were given to N.C. State University:

*Carolina Farm Stewardship Association – Evaluating the Efficacy of Organic Pesticides

*N.C. Christmas Tree Association – Building Brand Awareness among Millennial Families.

*N.C. Potato Association – Enhancement of N.C. Potato Markets

*N.C. Sod Producers Association – Turfgrass Sod Social Media Campaign

*N.C. State University – Automation in Container Nursery Weed Control; Biochar: Generating Profitability on Sandy Soil; Biosurveillance of Cucurbit Downy Mildew; Breeding Blueberry Cultivars for Mechanical Harvest; Control of Invasive Nematodes in Sweet Potato; CRISPR-Based Genome Editing in Christmas Trees; Improving N.C. Pumpkin Production and Marketing; Integrated Management of Rapid Apple Decline; North Carolina Hop Breeding Phase II; Production of Landscape/Forest Hemlock Seedlings; Towards Adelgid-Tolerant Christmas Trees

*PHARMN – Creating a North Carolina Ginseng Seed Source

More information about the program is available at www.NCSpecialtyCropGrant.org.

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