USDA announced that it is investing $70.2 million in the Specialty Crop Research Initiative to support 21 research and Extension projects that address key challenges of national, regional and multistate importance in sustaining all components of food and agriculture, including conventional and organic food production systems.
The grant program, administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), prioritizes projects that improve crop characteristics; manages threats from pests and diseases; improves production efficiency, profitability and technological innovation; and mitigates food safety hazards.
Jason Fischbach, CIAS and UW-Extension Associate, leads one of these projects titled, “Increasing Crop Diversity in Wisconsin through the WI Emerging Crops Coalition“. This project seeks to advance the development and commercialization of new and emerging crops in Wisconsin. This will be done by identifying strategic actions necessary to advance each of the crops and then communicating those needs to stakeholders, funders, and others that can assist with implementation of those actions.
This project aims to identify and overcome bottlenecks to adoption and scaling of emerging crops in Wisconsin, identify the opportunities and roadblocks around scaling for each of 10 emerging crops in Wisconsin, develop a strategic plan with specific actions to advance each of 10 emerging crops in Wisconsin. The project hopes to produce 20,000 acres of new crops in Wisconsin by 2030 and intends to work with stakeholders and partners to overcome the roadblocks and expand production of each of 10 emerging crops.
This is part of a wider initiative by the Biden-Harris Administration to further support the U.S. specialty crops sector and increase the competitiveness of its products.
Learn more about USDA’s ongoing efforts to support the U.S. specialty crops industry here.