Specialty Crop Block Grant Awarded

Iowa Food Hub has received a $21,198 grant to support Iowa fruit and vegetable growers' food safety efforts.

Iowa fruit and vegetable growers are facing pressure to comply with food safety standards, known as Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), and wholesale buyers are increasingly requiring a third-party GAPs certification. Allamakee New Beginning, doing business as the Iowa Food Hub (IFH), will manage funding for a state-wide GAP/GHP Cost-Share Program to defray the cost of these voluntary audits for any Iowa specialty crop farmer.

Iowa Food Hub is also the organizational host for the Iowa GroupGAP Network.

Eleven projects received funding from Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. The Department received $282,032 through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service to support the program.

“The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program has supported a wide variety of projects here in Iowa in the past several years to promote locally grown products and we are excited to get another round of funding that will support food safety, research and marketing efforts.  Specialty crops are a very important part of Iowa agriculture as they allow farmers to diversify and give customers access to local foods and other products,” said Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig.

Iowa agricultural non-profit organizations, cooperatives, specialty crop industry associations or organizations, and producer groups were eligible to apply for funding.

Grant funds shall be used for projects that benefit and enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops industry as a whole, and cannot be for projects that directly benefit a particular product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution, or individual.

“Specialty Crops” that are eligible under this program are fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.  The funds not passed through to Iowa organizations will be used by the Department to administer the grant.