DOVER – Ten research and marketing projects supporting Delaware specialty crops will receive more than $240,000 in funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program-Farm Bill, Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee announced today.
The projects – operated by nonprofit organizations, academic researchers and local farms – will all enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, which include fruits, vegetables, dried fruits, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops.
“These projects will all help Delaware growers and businesses by supporting and strengthening our local agricultural economy through expanding markets and developing new products,” Kee said. “The insights gained from the field research will lead to better yields and production methods, while the marketing initiatives will help make more Delawareans aware of the great local products that come from our farms.”
The 10 projects that will share in the $244,608 in federal funds include:
- A marketing initiative by the Delaware Christmas Tree Growers’ Association to educate the public on the benefits of growing Christmas trees.
- Expanding a Community Supported Agriculture program by the Food Bank of Delaware, working with the Cool Spring Farmers’ Market to reach targeted low-income communities in Wilmington.
- A collaborative advertising campaign by the Department of Agriculture to support locally-run on-farm markets.
- Four research projects by the University of Delaware’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences: Conducting larger-scale field trials on onion production; examining factors affecting seedless watermelons; studying yields of highbush blueberry variety trials; and studying potentially disease-resistant lima beans.
- Research by Zitvogel Farms to increase pole lima bean yields by testing water misters.
- Research by Williamsville Farms on early- and late-season blueberry production.
- Research by T.S. Smith and Sons and the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension examining production and season extension methods for dwarf sweet cherries, figs, and day neutral strawberries.
Chief of Community Relations
Delaware Department of Agriculture