Specialty crops are plants used for human consumption that are not animal- or grain-based: things like fruits, nuts and herbs. The Nevada Department of Agriculture is offering $250,000 to promote this industry.
Ashley Jeppson is with the department, and she says the purpose of the grant is to enhance human food production.
“The goal of this program are the highly-consumed fruit and vegetable crops. So I think the overall initiative is to find a way to increase production within the nation and to work hand-in-hand to create a larger food supply for humans.”
Jeppson says that the grant can be one way for farmers and organizations to expand Nevada’s agriculture.
“For Nevada, our three main crops are onions, garlic and potatoes,” she says. “So finding funding sources that can help promote other crops as well, it’s certainly something we want to support.”
Jeppson says projects must emphasize research, education or marketing to qualify for funding.
“Some projects that we have funded include a collaborative of farmers working together to assess marketing strategies for drawing consumers to their farm,” she says. “We’ve also had some projects that have done research on the growth of pumpkins and identifying varieties that tend to do better in the state.”
Grant money is split among all qualified applicants. Any interested party must submit a letter of intent to the department by April 13.