15 Iowa Organization Receive Grant Funds to Help Promote Specialty Crops

Posted on Jan 27, 2012 in news, Specialty Crops

USDA funds will help groups promoting fruits, vegetables, nuts, and flowers Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will be awarding $238,548 grants to Iowa organizations to help enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops grown in Iowa. The Department received $276,310 through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service to support the program. “Specialty crops are a very important part of Iowa agriculture as they allow farmers to diversify and give customers access to locally grown products,” Northey said. “These federal funds will support food safety, research and marketing efforts that will encourage Iowans to choose fruits, vegetables, nuts and flowers that are produced right here in our state.” Iowa agricultural non-profit organizations, cooperatives, specialty crop industry associations or organizations, and producer groups were eligible to apply for funding to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.

The Department also invited public comment from specialty crop stakeholders to help identify priorities for the program and established a Review Committee to help review, evaluate, and make recommendations on which grant proposals submitted to the Department should receive funding. The maximum grant award is $20,000 and administrative and indirect costs are not allowed. Grant funds shall be used for projects that benefit and enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops industry as a whole, and will not be awarded for projects that directly benefit a particular product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution, or individual.

“Specialty Crops” that are eligible under this program are fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. The funds not passed through to Iowa organizations will be used by the Department to administer the grant. The full list of 15 grant recipients follows here:

  • Geode RC&D – $20,000 for a Local Foods Coordinator to expand local food marketing opportunities in the Great River Region
  • Iowa Christmas Tree Growers Association – $3,000 to provide educational speakers for their summer meetings
  • Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship – $20,000 to expand markets for specialty crop producers through the Farm to School program
  • Iowa Fruit & Vegetable Growers Assoc./Iowa State University – $10,000 for research to increase the cropping potential and profitability for growing scab resistant apple cultivars
  • Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association – $17,100 to expand educational programming and professional development for Iowa’s Green Industry
  •  Iowa Lakes RC&D – $19,570 for specialty crop market development through promotion and education
  •  Iowa Valley RC&D – $20,000 to develop a selfsupporting, direct–to-consumer food cooperative for east central Iowa
  •  Iowa State Horticulture Society Expo – $16,000 to promote and encourage horticulture in Iowa through an Expo and website
  •  Iowa State University Extension – $19,543 to create budgets for vegetable crop production in high tunnels
  •  Iowa State University Dining Services – $14,620 to increase purchases of Iowa specialty crops at Iowa State University
  •  Mississippi Valley Growers Association –$20,000 for promotions to expand the purchase of specialty crops at local farmers markets
  •  NE Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative – $15,700 to provide technical assistance for Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification
  • Pathfinders RCD – $10,000 for high tunnel production, business development, and marketing workshop for fruit and vegetable producers in SE Iowa
  • Practical Farmers of Iowa – $20,000 for Community Supported Agriculture mini-school, workshop, and webinar
  • Southern Iowa RC&D – $13,015 for research to identify a unique aronia berry marker Iowa Nursery & Landscape Association

INLA would like to thank Ann Marie VanDerZanden, Associate Professor of Horticulture at Iowa State University, for her work on the grant application. INLA would not have received the $17,100 grant without Ann Marie’s hard work on the application. Ten thousand dollars of the grant will be used towards drawing in speakers for the Shade Tree Short Course & INLA Trade Show. The remaining grant funding will be used to create webinars for INLA members. Please look for more information as programs are established.

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