Gem State Roundup

U.S. Department of Agriculture announces $2.1M in crop grants in Idaho

By: - August 23, 2023 5:14 pm
Idaho farmer holding soil in his hands

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is awarding $2.1 million in specialty crop block grant funding in Idaho. (File photo courtesy of Carly Whitmore/USDA)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is awarding $2.1 million in specialty crop block grant program funding in Idaho, the department announced in a press release issued Wednesday.

The grant program will provide funding for 16 projects in Idaho that relate to enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops and creating new marketing opportunities for the producers of specialty crops. 

Projects announced to receive funding relate to bees and pollination, seed quality and health, sustainability and disease management.

“With this year’s Specialty Crop Block Grant funding, Idaho is investing in innovative projects that will help address the needs of specialty crop producers within the region,” USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt said in a written statement. “The funded projects will also further USDA’s efforts to ensure U.S. specialty crop products remain competitive in markets across the nation and abroad.”

The list of Idaho recipients of specialty crop block grant program funding recipients includes:

  • Boise State University
  • College of Southern Idaho
  • College of Idaho
  • Idaho Eastern-Oregon Seed Association
  • Idaho Eastern-Oregon Onion Committee
  • Idaho Hop Grower’s Commission
  • Idaho Oilseed Commission
  • Idaho Preferred
  • Idaho Wine Commission
  • Panhandle Farm Corridor
  • University of Idaho

The College of Idaho will receive specialty crop block grant funding for its pollinator project to identify bee specimens from specialty crop fields to determine if nearby lands also include pollinator habitat. 

“Each year I am impressed by the wide array of projects that Idaho’s grant recipients execute to further enhance the value of our specialty crops in Idaho,” Idaho State Department of Agriculture Director Chanel Tewalt said in a written statement. “Specialty crops significantly contribute to Idaho’s agricultural economy, making these projects incredibly important to our state.”

Funding for the grants was authorized by the 2018 farm bill. Altogether, the USDA awarded $72.9 million in grants across 54 states and territories and Washington, D.C., for fiscal year 2023.

The funding is awarded for a three-year period that begins Sept. 30, the USDA said.


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Clark Corbin
Clark Corbin

Clark Corbin has more than a decade of experience covering Idaho government and politics. He has covered every Idaho legislative session since 2011 gavel-to-gavel. Prior to joining the Idaho Capital Sun he reported for the Idaho Falls Post Register and Idaho Education News. His reporting in Idaho has helped uncover a multimillion-dollar investment scam and exposed inaccurate data that school districts submitted to the state.