W.Va. specialty crop projects granted more than $270,000

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A bee gathers nectar from a foxglove flower in southern West Virginia. Photo courtesy .

Eight West Virginia projects will share in $271,980 in federal funding to enhance the production, processing, and consumption of specialty crops, according to the W.Va. Department of Agriculture.

Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree-nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops, including floriculture, according to state Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt.

  • W.Va. Dept. of Agriculture – $68,342: “Developing New Detection Methods to Enhance Food Safety in Specialty Crops in West Virginia”
  • W.Va. Dept. of Agriculture – $50,000: “2018-2021: West Virginia Specialty Crop Producer Education Opportunities”
  • W.Va. Dept. of Agriculture – $17,500: “2018-2021: Supporting GAP Audits of Specialty Crops”
  • West Virginia University – $31,460: “Growing Farmers, Horticulturists, Nutritionists in West Virginia: Garden-Based Learning for Elementary Schools”
  • Raleigh County Schools (Raleigh County) – $25,000: “Creating Education and Market Opportunities for Students and Beekeepers in Southern WV”
  • West Virginia University (Jefferson County) – $24,522: “Initiative to Develop a Cider Apple and Cider Production Economy in West Virginia”
  • Yew Mountain Center (Pocahontas County) – $19,932: “Yew Mountain Center Forest Farming with Non-Timber Forest Products Research and Education Project”
  • West Virginia State University (McDowell County) – $15,000: “Southside K-8 Tunnel and School Farm Project”

Leonhardt called the block grants that funded the programs vital.

“Specialty crop block grants have had a tremendous impact on West Virginia. From research to education, as well as expanding agricultural markets, these grants are vital to our state. It is imperative they continue to be included in the next and future Farm Bills.”

Grant recipients have three years to plan, implement and gather data on their respective projects. The USDA handed out more than $72.1 million to 788 block-grant projects across the U.S. and its territories for 2018. For complete project descriptions, .

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