Connecticut's agricultural industry will benefit from some $250,000 in federal grants for improving specialty-crops' yields and the health of bees, among other projects, the state ag agency says.
The state Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday it will draw funds through the 2016 U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant Program to support research overseen by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES).
Efforts to raise disease-resistant strawberries and pumpkins, to breed pest-resistant bees and increase pollinator habitat, and to find varieties of hops suitable for growing in Connecticut are among the projects being funded by the latest round of an annual federal grant program, said state Ag Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky.
Funded projects must produce measurable outcomes for the public and/or the specialty crop industry, which the USDA defines as fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, maple syrup, honey, horticulture, and nursery crops.
"The work being done at CAES on these projects and so many others is an important resource that helps enhance the growth of Connecticut agriculture while responding to new challenges facing farmers today," Reviczky said.
CAES Chief Scientist James LaMondia said the research funding will help the experiment station address timely issues important to growers and the public.
"Each of these projects will help Connecticut growers produce valuable specialty crops and enhance the viability of agriculture in our state," he said.
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