State taking proposals for specialty crop grants

In this photo taken Oct. 31, 2011, central Illinois farmer Dale Hadden climbs onto a combine on the family farm near Jacksonville, Ill.  (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

In this photo taken Oct. 31, 2011, central Illinois farmer Dale Hadden climbs onto a combine on the family farm near Jacksonville, Ill. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Agriculture officials say the state is accepting proposals for federal funds aimed at increasing production of specialty crops.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture says the funds from the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program can be used to grow and produce fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and nursery crops, including floriculture.

Universities, cooperatives, food producers, for-profit industries or community-based organizations may submit proposals for project funding. They will be eligible for about $480,000 to support grower education, infrastructure, food safety and marketing.

Proposals must be in one of three categories. They are good agricultural practices, food safety, and traceability; farmers markets and wholesale produce; and innovative specialty crop projects.

Proposals must be received by the state no later than May 17.


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