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MDARD Announces 2020 Specialty Crop Block Grant Recipients

For immediate release: October 20, 2020
Media contact: Jessy Sielski, 517-284-5725 

Lansing, MI - The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development announced today the Michigan recipients of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. The program offers federal funding to state departments of agriculture to support the specialty crop industry. Grants focus on marketing, training, certifications, food safety, pest control, and plant health for specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, plants and/or flowers.

“Unlike commodities such as grain, cotton, and oilseed, specialty crops do not receive direct aid from the farm bill, so these grants are critical for Michigan’s specialty crop industry,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “And even though these are federal grants, they pass through the state departments of agriculture to help ensure the funds are allocated based on each state’s unique needs. It’s a great program, and we’re proud to help support Michigan’s specialty crop producers.”  

The grants will enhance the competitiveness of the state’s specialty crops. Below is the list of grantees: 

  • Cherry Marketing Institute – Driving Demand for U.S. Grown Tart Cherries with Influential Food and Beverage Manufacturers, $125,000
  • Hop Growers of Michigan – Integrated Approaches to Managing Cone Diseases in Michigan Hopyards, $73,258
  • Michigan Apple Committee – Target Audience Engagement to Increase Sales of Michigan Apples, $125,000
  • Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board – Sales & Marketing Tools to Advance the Michigan Asparagus Industry, $125,000
  • Michigan Bean Commission – Multifaceted Strategies to Communicate the Value of Michigan Dry Beans, $107,200
  • Michigan Bean Commission – Optimization of Fertilizer Rate Recommendations for Michigan Dry Bean Growers, $99,998
  • Michigan Blueberry Commission – Evaluating Effective Management Strategies to Control Anthracnose Fruit Rot in Michigan Blueberries, $70,258
  • Michigan Celery Research Inc. – Michigan Celery Growers Seek Answers to Plant “Meltdown,” which Threatens the Industry’s Future, $70,046
  • Michigan Christmas Tree Association – Development of Integrated Weed Control Program for Michigan Christmas Tree Production, $72,744
  • Michigan Grape Society – Cold Hardiness Monitoring for Grapevines in Southwest Michigan, $40,000
  • Michigan Greenhouse Growers Council – Greenhouse Growers Seek Innovative Solutions to Control Botrytis Blight, $70,000
  • Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association – Debating Glyphosate, Understanding the Prominence of Herbicide Resistance and Residuals in Nurseries, $100,000
  • Michigan Potato Industry Commission – Identification of Potato Varieties with Postharvest Disease Resistance, $85,625
  • Michigan State Horticultural Society – Managing Downy Mildew in Michigan Vineyards: Investigating Alternative Products, Fungicide Efficacy, and Resistance Levels, $99,500
  • Michigan Vegetable Council – Strategies are Needed to Protect Michigan’s Cucurbits from Fungicide Resistant Downy Mildew, $91,577
  • National Grape Cooperative – Addressing Priority Issues in Berry Moth Management for Michigan Vineyards, $99,637
  • Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Office – Publication of Instructional Manual for Operating a Five-Acre Institutional Horticulture Farm Using an Incarcerated Labor Force, $125,000
  • Southwest Michigan Wine Trail – A Comprehensive Marketing Project to Improve Competitiveness of Lake Michigan Shore Wines, $88,252
  • MDARD International Marketing Program – International and Domestic Promotion of Michigan Specialty Crops, $161,626.85

For more information about the program, visit and