USDA gives Michigan Dept. of Agriculture US$1.3M grant to promote agri-tourism, spur development and expansion of specialty crop production, processing

LANSING, Michigan , October 10, 2011 () – Proposals to promote western Michigan agri-tourism, expand the state's plum market and try new technology for growing asparagus and dry beans are among nearly two dozen that will share in $1.3 million in federal agriculture grants.

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development director Keith Creagh says the money will fuel the development and expansion of specialty crop production and processing in the state. The grants were announced Friday.

Twenty-one projects were selected for funding, the same number as last year.

The department says Michigan leads the nation in the production of several specialty crops, including dry beans, red tart cherries, blueberries, Niagara grapes, squash, 11 floriculture products and cucumbers for pickles. It also ranks in the top 10 for 15 other crops.

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