Federal grant increase could grow interest in specialty crops
Michigan could receive nearly $2 million in federal block grants for specialty crops as a result of the U.S. farm bill.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says $66 million is available nationwide to state departments of agriculture for specialty crops. Michigan's allocation increased in the 2014 budget year from $1.26 million in 2013.
Grants could fund research, programs to increase demand or other projects related to specialty crops, which include locally grown fruits and vegetables.
Farm bill author and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat from Michigan, says the grants will help growers sell their produce, protect crops from pests and improve production practices. She says the bill "makes an unprecedented investment in fruits and vegetables."