WV Receives $341,000 in Specialty Crop Block Grants

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Eight West Virginia projects will share in $341,018.74 of federal funding under the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) 2021 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) H.R. 133 Stimulus funding. These projects were chosen from nine West Virginia organizations, agencies and institutions who requested a total of $355,057.65 for this fiscal year. Recipients must use the federal funding to enhance the production, processing and consumption of specialty crops in West Virginia. Grant recipients have two years to plan, implement and gather data on their respective projects.

“We are thankful for the additional dollars the federal government allocated through this stimulus package. All these projects will have a tremendous impact on advancing West Virginia’s agricultural industries,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “Given the war in Ukraine, supply chain issues and rising energy prices, it is vital we develop local food systems to protect and feed our citizens.”

The Special Crop Block Grant FY 21 H.R. 133 Stimulus awards are as follows:

• Spotted Horse Farm (statewide)- $59,713:
• “Hops: Growing the Demand Through Cooperative Engagement”

• Jefferson G.A.P. Coalition, Inc. (Eastern Panhandle)-$52,890:
• “Bushel and Peck Curbside Program”

• Wonder Valley Farm LLC (Central & Southern WV) – $71,396.65:
• “High-Density Orchard Systems: Enhancing Education and Production Networks in Central & Southern West Virginia”

• Frostmore Farm Inc. (Pocahontas County)- $48,414:
• “Post-COVID Expansion of Availability and Access to U-Pick Specialty Crops at Frostmore Farm”

• Country Road Berries (Kanawha & Roane Counties)- $6,000:
• “Strawberry Farm Ramp Back Up to Pre-COVID Production”

• Blue Mountain Farm (Berkeley County)- $23,467:
• “Blue Mountain Farm Wash Station & Refrigerated Storage Proposal”

• Shepherd University (Jefferson County)- $51,902:
• “Enhancing Production in an Aquaponics System with Spectrum Controlled LED Lights”

• West Virginia University Research Corporation (Statewide)- $27,236.09:
• “Whole-Farm Education for Direct Marketers and Agritourism Operators to Better Manage Market Disruptions”

Since these funds were distributed as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, each project was required to show how they were impacted by the pandemic, as well show the ability to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops and address local, regional and national challenges confronting specialty crop producers. The USDA awarded $97 million to 50 states, the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories. Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.

For more information, contact Leslie Boggess lboggess@wvda.us 304-558-2210.

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture protects plant, animal and human health through a variety of scientific, regulatory and consumer protection programs. The Commissioner of Agriculture is one of six statewide elected officials who sits on the Board of Public Works.