USDA grants totaling $560,000 heading to Va.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Sixteen projects in Virginia that promote specialty crops from organic apples to chestnuts are sharing more than $560,000 in grants.

The funding announced by Gov. Terry McAuliffe is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and based on a competitive process established by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Specialty crops include a wide range of farm and forest products, including wine grapes, strawberries and Christmas trees.

The grants range from $20,000 to $50,000 per recipient.

They include the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture, Innovation and Rural Sustainability, to study chestnut production and marketing; Virginia Tech, for fermentation strategies of apples used for cider; and the Mount Rogers Area Christmas Tree Growers Association, for a genetically improved Fraser fir seed orchard.

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