Biotech Updates

USDA Grants for Specialty Crop Research and Extension

November 20, 2009

The USDA Award for Specialty Crops in the amount of US$46 million was recently announced by the Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Initiatives will be focused in solving critical specialty crop agriculture issues, address priorities and solve problems through multifunctional research and extension. "Specialty crops are an important part of American agriculture, valued at nearly US$50 billion every year," Vilsack said. "This significant investment into research, education and extension will enable specialty crop producers to improve their products and increase their profitability."

The Initiative established by the 2008 Farm Bill, will support the specialty crop industry by developing and disseminating science-based tools to address the needs of specific crops in five focus areas: 1) improve crop characteristics through plant breeding, genetics and genomics; 2) address threats from pests and diseases; 3) improve production efficiency, productivity and profitability; 4) develop new innovations and technologies and 5) develop methods to improve food safety.

For details on the grant and university/ institution recipients, visit: