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(Jefferson City) – The Missouri Department of Agriculture announced on Monday, November 18, that seven organizations across Missouri will receive grants given by the USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program to strengthen the market for Missouri grown crops and produce. The more than $300,000 in federal funding will be used to educate consumers and producers about Missouri specialty crops as well as to research methods to improve nut, berry, grape, vegetable and flower production throughout the state.

Missouri State University received $59,976 out of that grant funding to expand environmental and economic sustainability by improving fungal disease resistance in the Norton grape through the development of the first genetic linkage map for the Norton that will serve as a foundation for future breeding of new cultivars. MSU will also be receiving $9,500 to identify the best primocane bearing raspberry varieties for production in grow bags rotated in and out of a high tunnel with vegetable crops and increase the number of people affected by this new knowledge by disseminating project results.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture also received grant funding to create a regional advertising campaign for Missouri’s specialty crops. The promotional activities will educate Missouri consumers on the benefits of purchasing, preparing and consuming the specialty crops grown in Missouri.

For more information on the Missouri Department of Agriculture and financial assistance available to Missouri producers, visit the Department online at mda.mo.gov.

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