December 08, 2021

Specialty Crop Block Grants Awarded to Grow Production within Missouri agriculture

More than $428,000 awarded in 2021.


The Missouri Department of Agriculture announced today that nine projects across Missouri will receive grant funding from the USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant program to strengthen the market for Missouri grown specialty crops.

“The projects receiving funds will assist Missouri farmers for years, and even generations to come,” said Missouri Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn. “Adding new markets and strengthening existing ones helps their bottom line and also can provide the opportunity for that next generation to return to the farm.”

More than $428,000 in federal funding will be used to build relationships between Missouri schools and local farmers, create producer educational videos throughout a growing season on eight specialty crops, accelerate the black walnut as a nut/kernel crop, establish a fruit education site, and promote Missouri honey throughout the state.

Grant funds will also be used to determine the viability of growing roses, chrysanthemums, tulips and hyacinths in a heated hoop house, evaluate native plants as specialty crops, develop a demonstration project for beekeeping and honey production in rural areas and create an educational program for specialty crop propagation.

The following projects were awarded grant funding for 2021: 

  • Black Walnut for Kernel Markets – Cultivar Release and Modern Genetics

University of Missouri - $49,906.30

Facilitate the pilot release of nine advanced breeding selections of the black walnut for   orchard adoption and develop modern genomic tools to accelerate the continued improvement of black walnut as a nut/kernel crop.

  • Promoting Specialty Crops in Missouri Schools

Missouri Department of Agriculture Missouri Grown Program - $50,000

Increase the consumption and knowledge of specialty crops in Missouri schools by providing a cost-share while facilitating relationships between schools and local farmers.

  • Show-Me the Gold – Missouri’s Honey

Missouri State Beekeepers Association - $24,123

Provide marketing and promotion of Missouri honey to beekeepers and residents throughout the state.

  • Establishing a Hands-on, High-value Specialty Crop Fruit Education Site

Webb City Farmers Market - $50,000

Establish and operate a demonstration site with a focus on growing blackberries, elderberries and high tunnel strawberries.

  • Breaking Ground – Virtual Training for 21st Century Specialty Crop Farmers

Webb City Farmers’ Market - $44,939

Create and share educational videos on eight specialty crops over a growing season that examines implementation of infrastructure through harvest/marketing, best practices and issues found on a farm in Southwest Missouri.

  • Beekeeping and Honey Production:  Niche Agriculture

Delta Area Economic Opportunity Corporation (DAEOC) - $50,000

Develop and implement a demonstration project for beekeeping and honey production. An education and job-training model will be established utilizing classroom and hands-on training to promote natural beekeeping in rural areas.

  • Meeting the Demand for Locally-Grown Roses, Chrysanthemums, Specialty Bulbs

Urban Buds: City Grown Flowers - $44,710

Demonstrate the viability of growing roses, heirloom chrysanthemums, tulips and hyacinths in a heated hoop house for small-scale Missouri farmers.

  • Evaluating Native Edible Plants as Specialty Crops in Missouri

Lincoln University - $49,843.60

Evaluate and increase diversity and resiliency on small farms by growing, cooking and consuming native edible plants.  Promote the cultivation of nettles, wild leeks, wild onions, mints, cup plant, cattail and goldenglow as specialty crops in Missouri.

  • Specialty Crop Outreach and Education at Amanda Belle’s Hospital Farm

Springfield Community Gardens - $30,403.36

Create an educational program for specialty crop propagation to farmers, as well as outreach and marketing to utilize social media and online tools that will increase awareness and expertise of local specialty crop production. 

For more information on the Missouri Department of Agriculture and financial assistance available to Missouri producers, visit the Department online at