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USDA Invests Over $300 Million in Specialty Crops Grants
USAgNet - 04/14/2021

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the availability of more than $330 million to help agricultural producers and organizations in the food supply chain recover from the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding announced today is part of USDA's Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative launched in March, and includes $169.9 million for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP), the availability of $75 million for Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program [GusNIP; formerly known as Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI)] grantees and approximately $80 million in payments to domestic users of upland and extra-long staple cotton.

This funding will aid in developing new markets for U.S. agricultural products, expand the specialty crop food sector, and incent the purchase of fruits and vegetables by low-income consumers. USDA also informed dairy producers and processors today about ongoing plans for the Dairy Donation Program (DDP) as established in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

USDA launched the Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative in March with $6.5 billion in available funding to address shortfalls and disparities in how assistance was distributed in previous COVID-19 assistance packages, with a specific focus on strengthening outreach to underserved producers and communities and small and medium agricultural operations.

"We launched USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers to respond in a broader, fairer way to the pandemic's impact across food and agriculture, and we are following through on our promise," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in wide-ranging impacts that were felt throughout the agricultural sector. The Biden-Harris Administration is focused on ensuring that the entire agricultural sector successfully rebuilds following the pandemic, and the funding we're announcing today will reach a broader set of producers and businesses than previous COVID-19 aid programs."

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is announcing $169.9 million for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) to fund innovative projects designed to support the expanding specialty crop food sector and explore new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products.


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