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Two Local Agencies Earn Grants To Support Indiana Agriculture, Specialty Crop Production
Updated January 27, 2017 6:09 AM | Filed under: Agriculture
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South Central Community Action Program, Inc. in Monroe County received $58,000 to expand the impact of the Growing Opportunities greenhouse job training program.
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Growing Opportunities greenhouse job training program.
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Schooner Hill Start‐A‐Hive receives $35,000 grant.

(UNDATED) - The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) awarded $376,500 to six agricultural organizations for projects that will support specialty crop production in the state.

South Central Community Action Program, Inc. in Monroe County received $58,000 to expand the impact of the Growing Opportunities greenhouse job training program to more people in Monroe County. The project is also aimed at promoting healthy families and children through expanded consumption of specialty crops by people in poverty, along with reducing hunger.

Schooner Hill Start‐A‐Hive received $35,000. Schooner Hill Bee Hive Farm will partner with Brown County 4-H Extension to promote the competitiveness of specialty crops through agriculture education, training and use implementation for residential and small farm applications.

These grants were established though the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service's Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and designed to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, paving the way for further growth in the field.

"Specialty crop production is an important part of Indiana's diverse agricultural industry," said Ted McKinney, ISDA Director. "As a critical source of revenue for many Hoosier farmers, we must continue to find new, innovative ways to increase profitability and sustainability of specialty crop production while making advancements in food safety. These projects will help us achieve those goals."

According to USDA, specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, and floriculture. Along with enhancing the markets for specialty crops, these projects also work to address some of the chief issues impacting the industry, such as increasing nutritional knowledge and consumption of specialty crops, developing new and improved seed varieties, and investing in specialty crop research, to name a few.

The following list includes the organizations and programs that received funding through the Specialty Crop Block Grant program:

Organization: South Central Community Action Program, Inc.
Program: Growing Opportunities
Award amount: $58,000
The project aims to expand the impact of the Growing Opportunities greenhouse job training program to more people in Monroe County through building on the relationships it has started with its partner organizations. The project is also aimed at promoting healthy families and children through expanded consumption of specialty crops by people in poverty, along with reducing hunger.

Organization: Schooner Hill Start‐A‐Hive
Program: Schooner Hill Start‐A‐Hive
Award amount: $35,000
Schooner Hill Bee Hive Farm will partner with Brown County 4-H Extension to promote the competitiveness of specialty crops through agriculture education, training and use implementation for residential and small farm applications.

Organization: Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service
Program: Cantaloupe Safe Practices Education
Award amount: $104,500
Purdue University will determine best practices for Indiana cantaloupe production with a focus on food safety.f

Organization: Purdue Extension, Hancock County
Program: FoodLink 2.0
Award amount: $58,000
FoodLink 2.0 aims to provide a greater diversity of food choices while educating consumers about Indiana's specialty crops.

Organization: Purdue Extension, Marion County
Program: Urban Farm Incubator
Award amount: $57,900
Urban Farm Incubator aims to increase opportunities for new and beginning farmers, develop local and regional food systems, support the growth of organic specialty crops and improve food access in underserved communities.

Organization: Indiana State Department of Agriculture
Program: Indiana Grown Initiative
Award amount: $63,100
Indiana Grown will work to educate Hoosier consumers about the importance of buying specialty crops grown in Indiana, while supporting growers statewide.

For more information about the Specialty Crop Block Grant program, contact Hannah Ferguson at hferguson@isda.in.gov or visit www.isda.in.gov.

ABOUT ISDA

The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) was established as a separate state agency by the Legislature in 2005. The Director is appointed by the Governor and is a member of the Governor's Cabinet. Administratively, ISDA reports to Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, who also serves as Indiana's Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. Major responsibilities include advocacy for Indiana agriculture at the local, state and federal level, managing soil conservation programs, promoting economic development and agricultural innovation, serving as a regulatory ombudsman for agricultural businesses, and licensing grain firms throughout the state.



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