Eighteen programs received funding through the U.S Department of Agriculture’s specialty crop block grant program.
Awards totaled more than $1.7 million, according to the Texas Department of Agriculture.

“Texas producers have experienced fierce global competition for market access,” commissioner Todd Staples said in a statement.

“TDA is using these grants to fund projects that will increase the value of fruits, vegetables and other specialty crops through promotional and educational activities.

“These grants will help Texas producers increase their competitiveness while enhancing food safety, nutrition and plant health,” he said.

Some of the grant recipients:

  • TexaSweet Citrus Marketing Inc., Mission, received $100,000 to do a media and sampling outreach program for the Texas rio star grapefruit;
  • Texas Agrilife extension service received $268,500 for its project “Produce Safety in Texas: a Systems Approach;”
  • Texas Watermelon Association received $97,450 for a television outreach campaign;
  • Texas A&M University-Kingsville received $201,490 for its project, “Tightening the Noose Around the Citrus Root Weevil Diaprepes Abbreviatu, an Invasive Species in Texas;”
  • Texas A&M University received $78,439 for its project, “Improving the Safety of Texas Leafy Vegetables;”
  • Texas Certified Farmers Market Corporation received $90,000 to do advertising for the 83 Texas certified farmers markets;
  • Texas Pomegranate Growers Cooperative received $40,250 to conduct a market analysis for pomegranate sales in Texas;
  • Texas Produce Association received $24,175 for expanded training seminars; and
  • Sustainable Food Center received $49,960 for its program, “Farm-to-Work: Assessing Farm-Direct Marketing Opportunities through Workside Wellness Programs.”