|Illinois currently devotes more than 100,000 acres of farmland to growing specialty crops, which produce nearly $500 million in sales for Illinois farmers. To encourage further expansion of this industry, and to take full advantage of the allocated funds, the Department invites the development of projects pertaining to the following issues affecting the specialty crop industry:
Enhancing food safety;
Improving compliance with the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act;
Investing in specialty crop research and technology;
Increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops;
Improving pest and disease control;
Improving Food Access in Underserved Communities and Among Veterans
Protecting and improving pollinator health;
Improving efficiency and reducing costs of distribution systems;
Developing new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops.
Grants will be awarded through a competitive review process that includes the use of an independent committee of stakeholders from the agricultural community.