USDA Working to Support Specialty Crop Product Marketing

For consumers as you purchase fruits, vegetables tree nuts horticultural plants, you may not realize they examples in front of you, as provided by support mechanism for the nation specialty crop industry and its growers. The Agriculture Department specialty block grant program has been around since 2006. And as Agriculture Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Moffat explains, marketing is a part of the program’s purpose.

The program works in partnership with state and territory Departments of Agriculture. So these 55 partner, State and Territory Departments of Agriculture administer the program in partnership with the Agricultural Marketing Services, they develop a plan for how they want to administer the program in their state. But the program can support things like marketing, education and research to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.

So what do these specialty crop block grant program efforts look like? On the ground level? The Undersecretary provides examples from projects from within recently awarded grants to states and territories funded good total of almost $73 billion, for instance,

Another award that’s through the state of Alabama and it’s about expanding the fan base of Alabama specialty crop at university football games. So they’ll do things like inviting football fans to sample seasonal specialty crops at tailgate settings, marketing specialty crops at the stadium with advertisements really working at six Alabama universities during the 2024 football season to increase consumer awareness and willingness to purchase Alabama specialty crops by promoting the industry in really high traffic outlets.

Meanwhile, a project in Georgia.

There’s an innovative online marketing tool to drive consumers to purchase Georgia Grown. Georgia Grown is a branded program in Georgia where producers who grow in Georgia can apply to be certified and under the Georgia Grown labeled so what they’re doing there is they’re increasing the recognition of that Georgia Grown labels.  So if you’re in Georgia and you’re looking to buy Georgia Grown, consumers will be able to have more recognition of that label. That should also help with consumers as well as producers and connecting the two of them as they’re looking at these different types of more local market products.