South Carolina farmers who grow specialty crops will benefit from a grant of more than $591,000 the state received on Thursday from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service.
Funding from the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program for fiscal year 2022 will help the S.C. Department of Agriculture fund projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in the state and support growers through marketing, education and research, according to a news release.
The grant will fund 13 projects. More than $57,000 will be allocated to Ace Basin Growers, a nonprofit which will work to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crop growers through a collaborative project. Also, more than $49 million will be used to develop a new preharvest spray program to improve the yield of marketable peaches at harvest.
Funds will also go toward specialty crop research programs at Clemson University.
“Specialty crop block grants allow us to help farmers across South Carolina realize their goals of increased production and market expansion,” said S.C. Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers. “Through targeted funding, we’re improving access to fresh locally grown food for South Carolinians and helping open up opportunities for farms of all sizes.”
The funding for South Carolina is part of a total of $72.9 million in noncompetitive specialty crop block grants awarded to 55 states, territories and the District of Columbia. The grant program helps to support farmers growing specialty crops including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts and nursery crops.
Since 2006, the USDA has invested more than $953 million through the grant program to fund 11,331 projects.