The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced the recipients of over $1.25 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 is one of the most agriculturally diverse states in the nation, and much of that has to do with the variety of specialty crops we are able to grow,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “This year, 12 projects were selected that focus on pest and disease control, improved breeding and branding initiatives. These projects seek to improve specialty crops and strengthen our agricultural economy.”

Grant proposals were submitted by nonprofit organizations, commodity groups, government agencies and universities. The following organizations and projects received funding:

  • N.C. A&T State University – Bianchetto Truffle Production by Small Farmers; Micropropagation of Disease-Free Hazelnut for Truffle Production;
  • N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – Spotted Lanternfly: A Threat to North Carolina Agriculture;
  • N.C. Potato Association – Continuing Expansion of N.C. Potato Markets;
  • N.C. Sod Producers Association – N.C. Sod Brand Awareness Campaign;
  • N.C. State University – Breeding Tomatoes for Spotted Wilt Resistance; Drone Use to Improve N.C. Pumpkin Production; Genome Editing for Superior Christmas Trees; Improved Management of Primocane-Fruiting Blackberry; Management of Grape Trunk Diseases; Managing European Pepper Moth in Nurseries;
  • N.C. SweetPotato Commission – Controlling Root-Knot Nematode in Sweet Potatoes.

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 www.NCSpecialtyCropGrant.org.

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