The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the funding of $7 million to support 11 projects in six states, including Indiana, to develop solutions to challenges affecting the specialty crop industries that cross state boundaries. The awards are managed through the Specialty Crop Multi-State Program (SCMP) administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).
The 2018 SCMP projects announced include a partnership between the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and Purdue University. The ISDA will partner with Purdue to provide tangible resources, production guidance, and marketing research for farmers who grow cool-season turfgrass sod in 36 northern states. The project will benefit existing sod growers looking to diversify their operations by shifting or expanding acreage to grow new low-input sod varieties. Agronomic and market research along with the enterprise budget tools will allow growers to assess potential profitability and risks of growing low-input sod varieties. New and beginning farmers will also benefit from the project as enterprise budgets will reduce risk and help determine the feasibility of producing low-input sod. The project was awarded $495.635.
“The best way to tackle many of the biggest challenges in food safety and to promote markets is to make it easier for a lot of stakeholders to work together,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach. “USDA’s Specialty Crop Multi-State Program provides the grease to help them leverage state and private sector resources across state lines—especially the knowledge and experience of farmers and the agricultural industry.”
SCMP strengthens food safety; seeks new ways to address plant pests, disease, and other crop-specific issues; and increases marketing opportunities for specialty crops—fruits, vegetables, tree nuts and dried fruits to horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. Funding is awarded competitively to state departments of agriculture that partner with stakeholder organizations in two or more states.