ND’s Specialty Crops Get Another Boost
The state of North Dakota is getting another financial boost towards the development of specialty crops. This state is already among the nation’s leaders when it comes to producing dry peas, lentils, honey and confection flowers. $2.3 million in grants from the USDA will be distributed by the state to farmers, food companies and researchers who are involved in the production and processing of the lesser-known crops. This $2.3 million follows $3.1 million received by North Dakota in 2014. The state received less than $500,000 in 2013.
The USDA defines specialty crops as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops. Specialty crops grown commercially in North Dakota and its national production rankings are as follows:
- dry beans – 2nd
- dry peas – 2nd
- lentils – 2nd
- potatoes – 4th
- confection sunflowers – 2nd
- honey – 1st
- various vegetables
Cash receipts for specialty crops in both 2012 and 2013 resulted in slightly over $1 billion. The USDA reports that dried bean crops such as kidney, navy, garbanzo and pinto beans totaled nearly 28.7 million hundredweight in 2014 which was up 17% from 2013. The increase was even more conspicuous in ND and MN, which together produced about 40% of the nations crops.
North Dakota State University received a large portion of last year’s funds for two dozen different research projects, and several other groups and agencies also received money. The state department of agriculture also used some of the grant money to expand its Local Foods Initiative which promotes the production, marketing and consumption of locally grown foods.
State Agriculture Commissioner, Doug Goehring, states that the ND Department of Agriculture is very interested in what local producers have to say. He feels that their input is valuable and will help direct the development of future local foods programs.
-Terry Olson, Titan Outlet Store Team