Delaware Agriculture Projects to Receive Federal Funding - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Agriculture Projects to Receive Federal Funding

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DOVER, Del. - Nine research and marketing projects supporting Delaware fruits and vegetables will receive $337,000 through a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant program, Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee announced Thursday.

“These projects will continue helping make a difference for Delaware farmers,” Kee said. “Our project partners have an excellent set of programs lined up, from researching nutrient application to promoting Delaware wines. This funding all helps promote, enhance and grow our agricultural economy.”

The money comes from the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, through the federal Farm Bill, and is an increase of more than $100,000 from last year. The Department classifies specialty crops as fruits, vegetables, dried fruits, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops. Funding cannot be used for field crops, such as corn and soybeans, or animal agriculture.

The following are the projects receiving funding:

Promotion and Marketing

  • The Delaware Farm Bureau will launch a billboard campaign promoting fruits, vegetables, farm stands, farmers' markets and grocers ($50,000).
  • The Delaware Wineries Association will market Delaware wines and promote local grape cultivation ($48,166).
  • The Department of Agriculture's Marketing Section will develop recipe cards and an online recipe hub featuring fresh produce ($17,351).

Food Safety

  • The Department of Agriculture's Food Products Inspection Section will help growers subsidize the cost of USDA third-party food safety audits that are increasingly required by retailers ($29,457).
  • The University of Delaware will examine food safety regarding watermelons grown in fields to which poultry manure has been applied ($45,904).

New Markets

  • Delaware State University will assist farmers from underserved communities to grow organic blueberries ($49,999).
  • Georgetown landowner Steven Greenblatt will work with research and marketing partners to evaluate the commercial potential of Asian persimmons grown in Delaware ($36,724).

Research and Education

  • The University of Delaware will develop resources and training programs on vegetable production ($26,865) and conduct research on fertilizer use on plasticulture-grown drip-irrigated vegetables ($33,000).

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