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Michigan awards grants for specialty crop projects

LANSING, Mich. -- The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has divided $1.3 million in federal money among a dozen groups for projects designed to boost competitiveness of the state's specialty crops.

Director Jamie Clover Adams says the recipients were chosen from among 39 proposals. Michigan State University received $300,000 for six projects. The other grants were smaller, ranging from $22,000 to $75,000.

Winners included associations representing crops such as apples, asparagus, beans, onions, potatoes and Christmas trees.

The grants will help with research, promotion and programs designed to improve areas such as food safety and security.

The money came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.