WA Agriculture: Murray Announces Big Boost for Local Growers Efforts to Market Specialty Crops

Oct 15 2009

Fruit, vegetable, and other specialty crop growers will benefit from nearly $3 million federal grant to build marketing opportunities, increase competiveness of small farmers, and promote the consumption of specialty crops

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that Washington state will receive $2,920,854 in federal funding to promote and market specialty crops produced by local farmers throughout the state. Washington state is the leading producer of several specialty crops including sweet cherries, apples, Concord grapes, and red raspberries. The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, a competitive grant program dedicated to supporting local and rural agriculture interests, increasing the competitiveness of small producers, and promoting or creating direct marketing opportunities for specialty crop producers.

“Our state’s specialty crop growers are a primary reason agriculture is our state’s biggest economic engine,” said Senator Murray. “And in an increasingly global market, these local farmers face new challenges competing for market share. This funding will help apple, cherry, and other specialty crop growers promote and market their world-class products.”

Washington state’s allotment in grant funding is the third highest total of the 55 grants totaling approximately $49 million that were awarded today.

Last year, Senator Murray worked to include over $3 billion in federal funding for Washington state specialty crop growers in the 2008 Farm Bill. Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.