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UDAF Requests Public Comment for Upcoming Specialty Crop Block Grant

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) is seeking public comment for the upcoming Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) application cycle. The SCBGP is a competitive grant program operated by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food to administer federal funds from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service; this grant is open to farmers, private businesses, schools, trade associations, non-profits, farming and ranching co-ops, etc. headquartered in Utah. Specialty crops are fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture). 

In 2023, $355,050 will be awarded for projects designed to enhance the competitiveness of Utah-grown specialty crops by (1) leveraging efforts to market and promote specialty crops; (2) assisting producers with research and development relevant to specialty crops; (3) expanding availability and access to specialty crops; and (4) addressing local, regional, and national challenges confronting specialty crop producers.

UDAF is requesting public input on the following issues impacting Utah’s specialty crop industry for this year’s application cycle:

  • Enhancing food safety;
  • Improving the capacity of all entities in the specialty crop distribution chain to comply with the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (21 U.S.C. Chapter 27)
  • Investing in specialty crop research, including research to focus on conservation and environmental outcomes;
  • Developing new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops;
  • Pest and disease control;
  • Increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops;
  • Improving efficiency and reducing costs of distribution systems; and
  • Sustainability.

This input will help shape the ranking and rating criteria priorities to maximize benefit for Utah’s specialty crop industry. Please submit comments by February 12, 2023 at 11:59pm email to: agriculture@utah.gov. The application window will be open from February 22 – March 24, 2023. For more information, contact Anne Dunaway at adunaway@utah.gov or visit our Speciality Crop Block Grant Program page.

 

 

USDA Announces Grants for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making available up to $7.5 million for grants through its Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUAIP). The competitive grants will support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production projects through two categories, Planning Projects and Implementation Projects. USDA will accept applications on Grants.gov until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on March 27, 2023.

Planning Projects 

Planning Projects initiate or expand efforts of farmers, gardeners, citizens, government officials, schools and other stakeholders in urban areas and suburbs. Projects may target areas of food access, education, business and start-up costs for new farmers and the development of plans related to zoning and other needs of urban production. For example, the Texas Coalition of Rural Landowners used 2022 awarded funds to conduct a feasibility study and develop a business plan to establish a cooperative for small-scale agricultural producers serving low food access markets in Harris County, Texas.

Implementation Projects

Implementation Projects accelerate existing and emerging models of urban, indoor and other agricultural practices that serve farmers and communities. Projects may improve local food access, include collaboration with partner organizations, and support infrastructure needs, emerging technologies, and educational endeavors. For example, the Moka Urban Agriculture Initiative used 2022 awarded funds for a project to increase local food access and provide culturally relevant options that create economic opportunities for urban farmers. The project will help to reduce food insecurity, improve health and establish outdoor spaces for food production in Missouri.

Webinar 

A pre-recorded webinar on Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Grants | USDA provides an overview of the grants’ purpose, project types, eligibility and basic requirements for submitting an application.

More Information 

OUAIP was established through the 2018 Farm Bill. It is led by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and works in partnership with numerous USDA agencies that support urban agriculture and innovative production. The grants are part of a broad USDA investment in urban agriculture. Other efforts include:

    • Creating and managing a Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production to advise the Secretary on the development of policies and outreach relating to urban agriculture.
    • Reopening the People’s Garden Initiative. People’s Gardens across the country grow fresh, healthy food and support resilient, local food systems; teach people how to garden using sustainable practices; and nurture habitat for pollinators and wildlife and greenspace for neighbors.
    • Providing cooperative agreements that develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans.
    • Providing technical and financial assistance through conservation programs offered by NRCS.
    • Organizing 17 Farm Service Agency urban county committees.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.

NEW: 2022 UDAF Annual Report


The Utah Agricultural Statistics and Annual Summary Report is published by UDAF in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistical Service (USDA NASS) digitally each fall and provides a high level of view of the agency’s program activities, services and accomplishments.

Click the image below to read the 2022 Utah Agricultural Statistics and Annual Summary Report:

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