by Denise Laitinen
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that several groups across the state will receive nearly $379,074 to fund projects through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.
Nationwide, the USDA distributed $55 million in grant funding in all 50 states and U.S. territories for various agricultural projects.
Administered through the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, the block grant program helps to strengthen markets and expand economic opportunities or local and regional farmers and producers.
Two of the 10 organizations receiving funding are on the Big Island. The Kohala Center will receive $36,140 for its Hawaii Organic Program Office research and development program and the Big Island Beekeepers Association will receive $22,800 for its Hawaii Natural Honey Challenge, which will take place in November.
“The programs and research funded by this grant will help to support and expand existing specialty crops as well as establish new crops for our state,” said Russell S. Kokubun, Chairperson, Hawaii Board of Agriculture.
“It’s the potential for new crop development that makes this grant program different and extremely valuable to our state.”
Other groups receiving funding include the Hawaii Homegrown Food Network, Mililani Agricultural Park, Hawaii Agricultural Foundation, Hawaii Chocolate Association, and the University of Hawaii among others.
Visit www.ams.usda.gov/scbgp to review the 2012 project summaries and view a list of awards by location.