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MDARD Announces 2023 Specialty Crop Block Grant Recipients

LANSING, Mich. —The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) announced today the Michigan recipients of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. 

"Michigan is better when there's increased diversity within our food and agricultural sector, more specialty crops, and more value per acre for our farmers," said MDARD Director Tim Boring. "USDA's funding helps Michigan farmers to keep their competitive edge, advance research, and create new economic opportunities within the specialty crop sector especially as the agricultural community continues to be deeply impacted by the effects of climate change. We greatly appreciate USDA’s and Senator Stabenow’s ongoing support of Michigan’s farming families and businesses.”

The grants, with a maximum award of $125,000 each, enhance the competitiveness of the state’s specialty crops. Below is the list of grantees: 

  • MBG Marketing: $97,878 – Demand for Blueberries: Understanding Consumers’ Preferences to Increase Michigan Growers’ Market Competitiveness
  • Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board: $100,000 – Decision Support to Improve Asparagus Yield, Quality, and Industry Competitiveness Under Weather Extremes
  • Michigan Tree Fruit Commission: $98,237 – Improving Irrigation and Fertilizer Management in New and Established High-Density Apple Orchards
  • Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association: $100,000 – Time for Alternatives to Glyphosate: Post- and Pre- Herbicide Combos
  • Michigan Blueberry Commission: $99,000 – Advancing Etiology, Detection, and Management of Michigan Blueberry Viruses
  • Michigan Celery Research, Inc.: $97,451 – A New Leaf Disease and a Seedling Root Rot Require Solutions for Celery Growers
  • Michigan Bean Commission: $100,000 – Sustainable Dry Bean Production Systems: Improving Production for an Evolving Market Place
  • Michigan Vegetable Council: $98,084 – Can New Cultivars be the Answer to Rhizomania, the New Table Beet Disease.
  • Michigan Cherry Committee: $125,000 – Discovering and Targeting Key Buyers for Michigan Sweet and Tart Cherries
  • Michigan Onion Committee: $98,780 – Influence of Tip/Leaf Burn and New Fungicides on Onion Stemphylium Leaf Blight
  • Hop Growers of Michigan: $105,549 – Enhancing the Competitiveness of the Michigan Hop Industry
  • Michigan State Horticultural Society: $100,000 – Use of Bio Stimulants to Improve Fresh Market Blueberry Quality and Value
  • Michigan Apple Committee: $125,000 - #1 Social Media Marketing to Engage Target Audience and Enhance Competitiveness of Michigan Apples
  • Michigan Carrot Committee: $100,000 – Determining Action Thresholds and Management Strategies for Two Root Lesion Nematode Pests of Michigan Carrot Production
  • Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association: $125,000 – Expanding Michigan Wine Demand Across the U.S. Utilizing Consumer and Industry Wine Education
  • Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market Expo: $80,000 – Advancing Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Grower Knowledge and Efficiency Through the Great Lakes Expo
  • Kid’s Food Basket: $125,000 – Market and Promote the Expansion of Specialty Crops to Enhance Increased Consumption in West Michigan
  • Michigan Christmas Tree Association: $89,081 – Improving Establishment of Christmas Tree Plantations Through Research and Education
  • Michigan Potato Industry Commission: $93,795.50 – Educating Food Insecure and Non-English-Speaking Audiences on Michigan Potatoes as a Healthy and Affordable Option
  • MDARD’s International Marketing Program: $158,395 – International and Domestic Promotion of Michigan Specialty Crops

For more information on the MDARD Grants Program and how we can help you, visit or email us at


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