NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - A new US Department of Agriculture program will award $28.4 million worth of grants this year aimed at improving specialty food crops via genomics and other biotechnology research programs, USDA said Friday.
The program, called the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, will fund genetics and genomics research for plant breeding, among other goals, with the aim of combating pests and disease threats, improving production, and monitoring potential food hazards in specialty crops.
USDA said the specialty crop industry includes producers and handlers of fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, nursery crops, and floriculture.
USDA Secretary Ed Schafer called the funding, appropriated under the 2008 farm bill, “a substantial investment in scientific research… for production crops that will advance their large contribution to America’s agriculture both domestically and in world markets.”
More information about the USDA funding may be found here.
Applications for funding are due Aug. 14.