U.S. Department of Agriculture grants $533,000 to Hawaiʻi for specialty crops
The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded $533,251 to Hawai‘i under the 2023 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.
With this grant that was announced Monday, the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture will fund projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crop products and create new market opportunities for the state’s specialty crop producers.
Specialty crops are defined by the USDA as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops (including floriculture).
Much of Hawai‘i’s diversified agriculture falls under this specialty crop designation. Eligible plants must be cultivated or managed and used by people for food, medicinal purposes and/or aesthetic gratification to be considered specialty crops.
Through the grant, the state agriculture department will fund eight projects that support ornamental cut flowers and eucalyptus, and the propagation of papaya crops. The grant also will fund a pest management program for diamondback moths to increase sustainability of cruciferous crops.
“Specialty crops are our agricultural ‘bread and butter’ in Hawai‘i,” said Sharon Hurd, chairperson of the Hawai‘i Board of Agriculture. “Through the years, this block grant has strengthened the marketability of the state’s many diversified food crops as well as horticultural products.”
“With this year’s Specialty Crop Block Grant funding, Hawai‘i is investing in innovative projects that will help address the needs of specialty crop producers within the region,” said Jenny Lester Moffitt, USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. “The funded projects will also further USDA’s efforts to ensure U.S. specialty crop products remain competitive in markets across the nation and abroad.”
The funding to Hawai‘i is part of a total of $72.9 million in non-competitive FY 2023 Specialty Crop federal funding that was awarded to 54 states, territories and the District of Columbia.
The grants are authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill and FY2023 funding is awarded for a three-year period beginning Sept. 30, 2023. Since 2006, USDA has invested more than $1 billion through the SCBGP to fund nearly 12,000 projects that have increased the long-term successes of producers and enhanced marketing opportunities for U.S. specialty crops products.
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