The Kansas Department of Agriculture has been awarded $319,419.76 through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program designed to increase opportunities for specialty crops. According to the USDA, specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. KDA will redirect the grant award resources to projects throughout the state to help grow the specialty crop sector in Kansas.
“This grant helps the State provide financial resources to strengthen and grow the specialty crop sector in Kansas,” said Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey. “Opportunities exist to grow the fruit and vegetable industry in Kansas and these grants allow us to support entrepreneurs in the specialty crop industry.”
The following is a list of Kansas projects that will be funded by the Specialty Crop Block Grant:
- Developing Enterprise Budgets for Alternative Crops, Seward County Community College/Area Technical School, $62,097 – KDA will partner with SCCC/ATS to develop eight customizable templates for specialty crop enterprise budgets.
- Specialty Crop Incubator Program, Seward County Community College/Area Technical School, $47,200 – KDA will partner with SCCC/ATS to provide a specialty crop incubator program which helps small specialty crop businesses enter the industry. Conferences will also be offered focusing on business management and specialty crop knowledge, while mini-workshops will be held allowing the community to pick produce at the site to increase fruit and vegetable consumption.
- Expanding Vegetable Production and Distribution in Western Kansas, Western Prairie Resource & Conservation District, $51,000 – Along with the High Plans Food Coop, efforts will be made to expand fruit and vegetable production and distribution in western Kansas by integrating a standardized tote system and developing aggregation and sorting sites.
- Savor the Season Campaign, Kansas Department of Agriculture, $16,100 – KDA will develop and distribute recipe cards showcasing and promoting at least 40 different specialty crops. Recipe cards include nutrition information, and facts promoting the specialty crop industry in Kansas.
- Growing Communities: Modeling School and Community Collaborations for Specialty Crops, Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education (KACEE), $63,985 – KDA will partner with KACEE to create a model of community collaboration that integrates gardening and specialty crops into school, afterschool, and summer settings. Partnerships will be recognized and implemented in an effort to provide youth and students with viable year-round solutions for specialty crops.
- Tunnel to Table: Increasing Kansas Specialty Crop Production and Profitability with High Tunnels, Kansas Rural Center, $55,043 – The Kansas Rural Center will extend upon a previous Tunnel to Table project by providing production and profitability information for specialty crops grown in high tunnels. An in-depth manual will be created and distributed throughout Kansas to provide economic and production information to producers in order for them to make sound, informed decisions.
For more information, visit KDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant webpage at http://agriculture.ks.gov/ksda-services/grants-and-cost-share-programs/specialty-crop-block-grant.