NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – On Wednesday, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) awarded over $611,000 in Fiscal Year 2023 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP). The money will go toward projects to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crop products and create new market opportunities for specialty crop producers in New Mexico.

Five New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) projects will receive funding including a demonstration kitchen, training veterans in beekeeping, and increasing awareness and access to the New Mexico specialty cut flower industry. Money will also go towards the expansion of land access and providing technical training to specialty crop farmers as well as the training of native youth from the Navajo Nation on growing specialty crops.

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“While New Mexico’s chile, pecans, and onions are some of the most well-known specialty crops in the state, this program also provides funidng for the critical research and market development of additional specialty crops, such as jujubes, field vegetables, and greenhouse and nursery crops,” said New Mexico Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte. “Projects funded through this program make it possible for our industry partners, including our state’s land-grant university, to navigate the expanding facets of market strategy, and training and education specific to the specialty crop sector.”

The funds New Mexico is getting is part of a total of $72.9 million in non-competitive FY 2023 SCBGP funding that went to 54 states, territories,and the District of Columbia. The focus for the funds is specialty crops, including fruits, vegetable,s tree nuts, and nursery crops.