MDA Announces 2023 Specialty Crop Block Grant Awardees


Last updated 10/11/2023 at 10:43am

Press release

Helena, Mont. — The Montana Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Agriculture have partnered to announce the recipients of the state’s $3.071 million investment in projects through the Montana Specialty Crop Block Grant program.

“The quality of Montana’s agricultural products and the producers raising them are unmatched,” Montana Department of Agriculture Director Christy Clark said. “These grants support vital research and outreach efforts that directly benefit Montana’s farmers and ranchers to diversify, innovate, and grow their operations.”


Montana State University-Bozeman has been awarded the following grants:

• A $55,839 award for “Preserving Pulse Crop Acres by Solving Soil Erosion Risk.” Primary Investigator is Perry Miller.

• A $123,867 award for “Variety and Seeding Date Evaluation of Cowpea in Montana.” Primary Investigator is Perry Miller.

• A $200,627 award for “Control of Soilborne Disease Using Beneficial Bacteria for Organic Pea Growers.” Primary Investigator is Qing Yan.

• A $328,949 award for “Pea Ascochyta Blight-Resistant Variety Development by Genomic Approaches.” Primary Investigator is Li Huang.

• A $386,105 award for “The Wild Bees of Montana 3, Research for Specialty Crop Pollination Security.” Primary Investigator is Michael Ivie.

• A $142,326 award for “Exploring Intercropping and Essential Oils to Control Fusarium Root Rot of Pea.” Primary Investigator is Frankie Crutcher with the Eastern Agricultural Research Center in Sidney.

• A $328,857 award for “Managing Grasshoppers Damaging Pea, Lentil, and Chickpea Crops in Montana.” Primary Investigator is Kevin Wanner.

• A $88,256 award for “Investigating Novel Approaches to Improve PVY Detection in Dormant Tubers.” Primary Investigator is Nina Zidack.

• A $113,585 award for “Characterization of the Ecological and Epidemiological Factors Driving Pathogen Spread in Chickpeas.” Primary Investigator is Frankie Crutcher with the Eastern Agricultural Research Center in Sidney.

• A $254,174 award for “Testing Dibutyldithiophosphate as a Fertilizer to Improve Yield of Pulse Crops.” Primary Investigator is Michael Giroux.

• A $373,949 award for “Enhancing Innovation Service Capability and Offering Extrusion Training for Specialty Crops Stakeholders.” Primary Investigator is Wan-Yuan Kuo.

• A $186,353 award for “Evaluating Desiccants for Crop Dry Down and Weed Seedbank Management in Pulses.” Primary Investigator is Lovreet Shergill with the Southern Agricultural Research Center in Huntley.

• A $201,444 award for “Salsa 2.0: High Value Vegetable Variety Screening and Quality Optimization.” Primary Investigator is Andrej Svyantek with the Western Agricultural Research Center in Corvallis.

The Specialty Crop Block Program also supported a grant for $60,000 for “Expanding Specialty Crop Education and Marketing Through Harvest of the Month” for the National Center for Appropriate Technology, based in Butte, Montana.

The Montana Department of Agriculture is serving Montana Agriculture and growing prosperity under the Big Sky. For more information on department programs and services, visit


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