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California gets $49M for specialty crops from USDA

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Dennis Cardoza and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $49 million in grants for specialty crops, such as those grown in Merced, Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties.

California — a major producer of more than 350 different fruits, vegetables and tree nuts — will be awarded $16.3 million through the Specialty Crop Block Grant program. In previous years such crops haven’t received significant recognition in the Farm Bill, Cardoza’s office said in a news release.

The grants will provide funding to address several ag issues in California. Among them are food safety, research, programs to advance exports, water-and-soil recharge and pest control management. The grants also provide funding for partnerships with UC Davis and UC Merced, the release added.

California Farm Bureau Federation President Doug Mosebar said the grants allow farmers to help themselves while at the same time providing a constant source of fresh produce to consumers.

"The specialty crop programs will help us advance programs to maintain that leadership position for years to come," he said.