Forty-two percent of funds from recent Pennsylvania agricultural grants were awarded to hemp projects in the state as the projects garnered more than $194,000 of the $460,000 of the Specialty Crop Block Grants. The program is aimed at crops that are not eligible under the federal version of the program.
The projects include:
- $126,730 to Penn State University to optimize genotype selection and management practices for hemp production in the state.
- $35,588 to Franklin & Marshall College to establish a comprehensive baseline assessment of oomycete pathogen pressure on hemp.
- $32,095 for Alvernia University to complete an environmental assessment of industrial hemp, from seed to structure, by collecting growth and supply chain data.
Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said the funds will help increase “market access and competitiveness in crops with high growth potential that otherwise may be overlooked.”
“There is strength in our diversity, and we need to ensure growers—no matter size, scope or production—have every opportunity to succeed, strengthening both on-farm vitality and our commonwealth’s economic impact.”—Redding in a press release
In February, the state Department of Agriculture awarded $19,000 in grants for hemp-related projects, including $14,432 to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine to develop a method for cannabinoid analysis in bovine serum and hemp seed samples and $4,500 to Coexist Build to develop a marketing strategy for agritourism which highlights regenerative, organic farming featuring hemp-based construction.
The Specialty Crop Block Grant was announced in 2019 and, in all, 6.2% of the funds are allocated to recipients and projects located in rural municipalities where at least 20% of the population has been below the federal poverty line since 1990 while 3.8% is allocated to recipients and projects located in urban municipalities where at least 20% of the population has been below the federal poverty line since 1990.
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