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News Release

California Department of Food and Agriculture

Media Contact: Steve Lyle, Director of Public Affairs, (916) 654-0462

California Department of Food and Agriculture
Release #07-036
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Applicants have 45 days to apply for the $1 million in federal funds available

SACRAMENTO, Wednesday, April 18, 2007 – California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura is announcing a new grant program to help create innovative ways to assist with growth opportunities for California’s specialty crops.  As part of the federal Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004, CDFA is offering $1 million in federal funds to grant applicants, with a maximum of $100,000 each.  Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, and nursery crops (including floriculture).

Examples of enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops include research, promotional or implementation projects in the following areas: Nutrition, Trade Enhancement, Food Safety/Food Security, Plant Health Programs, Agriculture Education, “Buy Local” programs, Increased Consumption/Innovation, Improved Efficiency and Reduced Cost of Distribution Systems, Environmental Concerns and Conservation, Product Development and developing Cooperatives.

“These innovation grants will help ensure that our agricultural industry continues to meet and exceed the needs of all Californians, said Secretary Kawamura. “A more innovative specialty crop industry will provide direct benefit to people who enjoy our fruits, nuts and vegetables as an integral part of a healthy lifestyle.” 

The Specialty Crop Competitiveness Act of 2004 authorized the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide state assistance for specialty crops. Under Section 101 of the Statute, the Secretary of Agriculture is directed to “make grants to States for each of the fiscal years 2005 through 2009 to be used by State departments of Agriculture solely to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.”  The grant applications will be reviewed by a panel at CDFA and final selections will be communicated by letter and other media outlets.

Evaluation of the proposals will be based on ability to provide the broadest benefit to agriculture, and to show measurable, long-term, positive impacts. In order to apply for these funds, states must submit an expenditure plan for final approval by the Agricultural marketing Service of the USDA.
Visit  to download the application.

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California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814