9 Iowa groups get USDA grant for specialty crops

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Nine Iowa organizations focused on growing specialty crops will receive government grants totaling more than $250,000.

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service provides the funding to allow farmers to diversify and give customers access to locally grown products including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and flowers.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says in a statement Tuesday agricultural non-profit organizations, cooperatives, and producer groups could to apply for funding.

Iowa State University received money to develop and improve the production of organic apples.

Other recipients include Iowa City Parks and Recreation to fund a perennial specialty crops demonstration site and classes, Iowa Valley Resource Conservation and Development to train Iowa Valley Food Co-op producers to become wholesale marketers, and Practical Farmers of Iowa to educate specialty crop producers about pesticide drift and prevention.

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