More than half-a-million dollars in federal grants will soon be available for Illinois farmers who produce fruits, vegetables, tree nuts and horticulture and nursery crops. The Illinois Department of Agriculture says they are now accepting proposals for specialty crop grants that “enhance the competitiveness of Illinois-grown specialty crops in either domestic or foreign markets.”

A release from IDOA says recent census information indicates more than one-hundred-thousand acres of Illinois farmland is devoted to growing specialty crops on more than three-thousand farms, including pumpkins and horseradish. The same release says that specialty crops totaled almost four-hundred-seventy-million dollars in sales in 2012. IDOA says grant proposals should be submitted to their offices by May first.  

(Copyright WBGZ Radio/