Grants are available to promote the production of specialty crops like fruits, vegetables and tree nuts. The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry is accepting applications, due April 20, for $384,000 in grants that will enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops according to Agriculture Marketing Coordinator Jason Harvey.

“There’s a lot to be gained by expanding Oklahoma’s specialty crop industry,” Harvey said. “The grants allow agricultural organizations and individuals to do research on growing techniques or developing new varieties and then share the information with others.”

Specialty crops include many fruit, nut, vegetable, herb and cut flower crops. The focus of the grants is to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops by increasing nutrition knowledge, improving production efficiency, reducing distribution costs, enhancing food safety and developing new seed varieties. Eligible projects should impact the entire specialty crop industry and/or the public. Single organizations, institutions and individuals are encouraged to participate as project partners.

Online resources include a Specialty Crop Grant Program application, grant application manual, an example of a previously funded project and an evaluation form. Go to http://www.ag.ok.gov/mktdev/loans.htm for details.

Grants funded last year include a feasibility study of the grape industry conducted by the Oklahoma Grape Industry Council, a project by the Noble Foundation to evaluate the effectiveness of growing hoop house crops under different colors of shade cloth and a production method demonstrated by Copper Bear Farms of Guthrie to grow salad vegetables hydroponically and provide them to local school nutrition programs.

For additional information, please call Jason Harvey at (405) 522-5563 or email Jason.harvey@ag.ok.gov.

OFN Site ManagerBreaking Newsavailable,grants,specialtyGrants are available to promote the production of specialty crops like fruits, vegetables and tree nuts. The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry is accepting applications, due April 20, for $384,000 in grants that will enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops according to Agriculture Marketing Coordinator Jason Harvey....The Ozarks' most read farm newspaper, reaching more than 58,000 readers in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma