Illinois farmers who want to get a share of more than $520,000 in grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture should submit their proposals to the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
The state agriculture department announced on Monday that it is now accepting proposals for the Specialty Crop Block Grant program. Communication Manager Rebecca Clark says specialty crops could range from horseradish to pumpkins and more.
“Illinois grapes are a specialty crop,” Clark said. “It’s a very booming industry for the state of Illinois. You’ve also got lima beans, sweet corn, peas, cantaloupe.”
Clark added that candidates are farmers with projects that could boost the agriculture industry by “looking at ways to make that crop more sustainable to drought or floods or other things that Mother Nature can throw our way,” Clark said.
Clark says since the grants come from the federal government and don’t require state matching funds, Illinois’ lingering budget impasse will not affect the awards.
Applications for specialty crops and projects are being accepted at the Illinois Department of Agriculture until May 13, with awards expected after the start of the federal fiscal year in October.