Grants awarded to Penn State and others for specialty crop projects

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From Getty images, this picture taken on July 12, 2016 shows a hemp field farmed by Interval company in Arc-Les-Gray near Dijon, central eastern France.
Faurecia and Interval launched in 2014 a joint venture, “Automotive Performance Materials” (APM), which developes, manufactures and sells a material containing 20% of hemp fiber, after a complex process of transformation. Sold in granules, this exclusive product called “NAFILean” is then heated to pass into an injection press machine, as a 100% synthetic material. / AFP / ROMAIN LAFABREGUE (Photo credit should read ROMAIN LAFABREGUE/AFP via Getty Images)

University Park (WTAJ)– The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has awarded Penn State University with grants for a Pennsylvania specialty crop project.

Other institutions were also awarded funds from the grants as well to make a total of $460,000 distributed by the Department of Agriculture. Penn State was awarded $268,546 out of the total number of funds given.

The fund for the grants comes from the Pennsylvania Farm Bill and are known as Specialty Crop Block Grants, which funds crops that are not qualified under the federal specialty crop grants, in order to increase market opportunities and competitiveness of Pennsylvania specialty crops.

Crops that are being funded under the new grants are hemp, hops, hardwood, honey, rye, barley and wheat. Besides improving competitiveness in the market the funds will help promote food safety, develop a variety of new seeds, increase conservation and improve pest and disease control.

There are three grants being awarded to Penn State that aim to do the following

  • To reduce impacts of spotted lanternfly in the hardwood ornamentals industry.
  • Optimize genotype selection and management practices for Pennsylvania hemp production.
  • Create a Pa. Specialty Crop Block Brewing Grant Program.

The other institutions that are receiving funding are

“Increasing market access and competitiveness means investing in crops with high growth potential that otherwise may be overlooked,” said Agriculture Secretary Russel Redding. “There is strength in our diversity, and we need to ensure growers – no matter size, scope or production – have every opportunity to succeed, strengthening both on-farm vitality and our commonwealth’s economic impact.”

Some of the awarded funds go to projects in rural communities where at least 20 percent of the population is underneath the poverty line.

For more information on the grants visit Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s website.

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