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State

Dept. of Agriculture seeking crop grant proposals

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — The Illinois Department of Agriculture is accepting proposals for federal crop grants.

Department officials say Illinois' funding will come from the specialty crop block grant program in the new federal farm bill. Illinois has been receiving about $600,000 a year and using the funds to open new markets for locally-grown produce.

Agriculture Department director Bob Flider says a small increase of local food purchases would create thousands of jobs in the farming and food industries that would revitalize both rural and urban communities.

Applications for the grants can be found on the Department of Agriculture's website. Grant proposals will be accepted until May 1.

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