North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner awards 10 grants totaling more than US$640,000 to promote development, cultivation of specialty crops in the state

BISMARCK, North Dakota , October 5, 2011 (press release) – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has awarded 10 grants totaling more than $640,000 to promote the development and cultivation of specialty crops in North Dakota.

“Specialty crops, such as vegetables and fruits, are increasingly important in North Dakota, as more consumers look to local food sources, especially for fresh produce,” Goehring said. “These grants will help boost production and sales of these crops, ensuring North Dakota producers play a larger role in the ‘go local’ movement.”

Specialty crops are defined in law as “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.”

Goehring said organizations and agencies receiving grants include:

Foundation for Agricultural & Rural Resources Management & Sustainability (FARRMS) – $26,500 for increasing fruit and vegetable production to supply North Dakota farm and school programs

National Sunflower Association – $76,160 for eliminating sunflower rust in confection sunflower through aggressive breeding and isolate identification

North Dakota Farmers Market and Growers Association – $25,500 for increasing farmers market viability through training and vendor recruitment

Northarvest Bean Growers Association – $61,000 for product and market development of North Dakota specialty crop foods

Williston Ag Diversification Group – $85,340 to enhance the competitiveness of specialty potato variety Mondak Gold (MN15620) and evaluate multi-state potato breeding lines for processing and fresh specialty markets

North Dakota Department of Agriculture – $99,010 to continue the Going Local North Dakota Initiative to develop local foods infrastructure

North Dakota State University- $204,416 for four projects, including:
o $55,612 for development, agronomic performance, and quality testing of slow darkening pinto beans

o $50,516 to partner with the State Seed Department to gain a marketing advantage for North Dakota seed potatoes by demonstrating they are free of the potato virus PVYntn

o $37,174 for a northern hardy fruit evaluation project

o $61,114 to partner with the University of Minnesota to develop nitrogen management practices to reduce acrylamide levels in processed potato products

The North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) administers the program with funds provided by the Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The funds were appropriated in the 2008 Farm Bill. North Dakota was allocated $641,925.69. NDDA received 25 grant applications totaling $1,328,174.

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