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ANNAPOLIS, MD  – The Maryland Department of Agriculture today announced a competitive grant program to fund projects designed solely to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. The department will administer $430,000 in reimbursement grants to projects focusing on food safety, market enhancement and research. The minimum amount of funding per project is $15,000.

The department intends to fund projects that can produce the highest degree of measurable benefits to Maryland specialty crop producers in relation to each dollar spent. Successful applicants will need to have support from specialty crop producers, as well.

To qualify for the grant, applicants must be a Maryland resident or affiliated with a business or organization within the state. Electronic grant applications must be submitted by 3 p.m. on April 18.

Visit the department’s website to download the application. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Karen Fedor (karen.fedor@maryland.gov, 410-841-5773) to discuss their proposal.

Specialty crops are defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops. The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program was established by the 2014 Farm Bill.

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Follow Maryland Department of Agriculture on Twitter, @MdAgDept