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Grant money available to promote and research Arizona’s specialty crops

More than $800,000 worth of grant money is now available to groups that want to study Arizona’s specialty crops.

Those crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, nursery crops and even wine. The grants are available to projects that can help make the state’s crops more competitive.

“If they can get a crop to market earlier than some other state, then that gives this state an edge,” said Brett Cameron, assistant director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture. “In some cases we’re competing against other markets, but that’s what it’s all about.”

The money for these grants is from the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant. Cameron said any research project approved for a grant must benefit the industry as a whole.

“If a particular carrot grower or lettuce grower wanted to promote their own carrots or their own lettuce, that grant would not be allowed,” Cameron said.

“We have a rich combination of farmers and producers in our state, and many people don’t realize it,” said Mark Killian, director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture. “This grant funding can help our industry educate people around the state, the country and the world about the vast diversity of specialty crops grown in Arizona.”

Organizations that want to apply for a grant must do so by the end of April 18th. You can find application information here.