BOISE — Idaho State Department of Agriculture officials said the specialty crop block grant program was extremely competitive this year and resulted in some good projects not being funded.
“We definitely had to turn down more solid projects this year than we have had to in the past,” said Eric Boyington, who manages the ISDA program.
The department awarded more than $1.5 million to 13 projects this year but 13 other projects didn’t receive funding. Some of them were great proposals that had to compete with other great proposals, Boyington said.
The American Pulse Association sought $29,000 to develop a crowd-sourced web platform called WikiPULSEia to develop core information about pulse crops as well as avoid duplication of research and grower education efforts and drive demand for Idaho-grown pulses.
The APA also asked for $131,000 for a project designed to increase the use of pulses in U.S. food-service operations by educating food-service culinary directors on the benefits and preparation techniques of pulse crops.
The U.S. Lavender Growers Association sought $190,000 to develop best-management practices for lavender grown in Idaho.
Vineyard owner and bee biologist Ron Bitner sought $19,000 to work with USDA researchers, College of Idaho and S&W Seed Co. to increase populations of beneficial bees and insects in Canyon County. The project sought to do that by identifying native bees and beneficial insects in Canyon County and then identifying native and beneficial plants that will enhance their populations.
Clearwater Economic Development Association asked for $44,000 to build awareness of the new Lewis-Clark Valley American Viticultural Area in North Idaho.
The economic development group also sought $18,000 to educate people interested or already involved in growing wine grapes within the Lewis-Clark Valley AVA through seminars, workshops and classes on topics such as certified vine stock, pest and disease control, irrigation, fertilization and pruning.
The Idaho Apple Commission sought $96,000 for a campaign to increase sales and demand and build awareness of Idaho apples through retail promotions and social media, and the Idaho Cherry Commission sought $42,000 for a similar campaign.
The Idaho Bean Dealers Association sought $130,000 for a project to improve breeding for resistance to beet curly top virus in common Idaho bean cultivars.
The Idaho Farmers Market Association asked for $117,000 to increase the knowledge of, access to and consumption of Idaho grown fruits and vegetables at Idaho farmers markets.
Parma researcher Essie Fallahi, who leads University of Idaho’s pomology program, sought $162,000 to support ongoing research aimed at optimizing fruit production in Idaho and introducing alternative fruits to the state.
Sunnyslope Wine Trail Inc. sought $10,000 to raise regional awareness of the Sunnyslope Wine Trail, which includes many of Idaho’s wineries and vineyards and is only 30 minutes from Boise.
The Wood River Resource and Conservation and Development Council sought $78,000 to formally organize and apply for a proposed Alturas American Viticultural Area in southcentral Idaho.