Illinois grants of more than $700,000 will be available over three years to specialty-crop growers to encourage fresh, locally grown produce.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture announced the program Wednesday. The money is allocated in the federal Farm Bill's Specialty Crop Grant Program.
Applications are available on the Agriculture Department's website and must be submitted by April 26. Eligible projects must begin in calendar year 2020.
Illinois has more than 3,600 specialty-crop farms producing $500 million in crop sales.
State officials encourage grant proposals that center on subjects such as food safety, specialty crop research, supporting organic specialty crops, developing improve seed varieties, pest and disease control and more.