The U.S. Department of Agriculture is awarding $55 million in specialty crop block grants.

The awards were announced by Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan during a media conference call Oct. 5.

One-third of the funding is targeted at marketing and promotion projects. Other grants went to education, food safety, production, research and pest control and plant health.

Grants for 740 projects will go to nearly every state, the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories.

With 72 projects, California, which accounts for about 40% of the nation’s specialty crop production, captured $18.6 million in grants.

“This block grant program provides an opportunity for researchers, educators and other innovators in the agricultural community to pursue a wide variety of projects designed to make our crops safer, more competitive and more accessible,” Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, said in a news release.

Other states receiving more than $1 million in specialty crop block grants:

  • Florida ($4.39 million),
  • Washington ($3.11 million),
  • Texas ($1.74 million),
  • Oregon ($1.72 million),
  • Michigan ($1.35 million),
  • North Carolina ($1.21 million),
  • Arizona ($1.17 million),
  • Georgia ($1.13 million),
  • New York ($1.06 million),
  • Pennsylvania ($1.04) and
  • Idaho ($1.02 million).