(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is accepting proposals for specialty crop grants.

Those crops include hemp, hardwoods, honey, and hops, barley, rye, and wheat for distilling, brewing and malting.

A total of $460,000 is available in Pennsylvania Specialty Crop Block Grants. The grants were created through the 2019 PA Farm Bill.

“These PA Farm Bill grants are strategic investments in Pennsylvania’s future,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “Pennsylvania hardwoods supply the world with sustainable, quality building materials. Fiber hemp restores soil and sources sustainable materials from plastics and clothing to construction materials and auto parts. Hops and brewing grains are critical to our top-ranking craft brewing industry. These products are feeding our progress.”

Eligible projects will boost competitiveness and sustainability of the crops, a department announcement said. Examples include projects aimed at increasing conservation and environmental outcomes, enhancing food safety, developing new and improved certified seed varieties, or improving pest and disease control. Projects that have been funded in the past include a project that assessed disease impacts on hemp, a project that protected hardwoods from spotted lanternflies, and a project that taught brewing crop techniques.

A percentage of the awarded funds will be earmarked for projects in rural communities with at least 20% of the population below the federal poverty line, the announcement said.

Additional information is online. Full grant guidelines will be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on Oct. 29.

Project proposals are due by 5 p.m. on Dec. 2.