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6 specialty crop grants awarded in N.D.

BISMARCK -- North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has awarded six grants totaling about $435,000 to promote the development of specialty crops.

Goehring says the money can be used to help expand production and sales of specialty crops such as fruits and vegetables. He says specialty crops are increasingly important in North Dakota as more consumers turn to local food sources, and farmers seek to diversify their operations.

Specialty crops are defined in law as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.

The Agriculture Department received 19 applications, which were reviewed, scored and forwarded to the federal Agriculture Department for final approval. The largest grant is going to North Dakota State University, which is getting just under $92,000 to work on better pinto bean varieties.

The Associated Press