Texas’ agriculture commissioner has awarded federal grants to help improve the state’s production of fruits, vegetables, and other specialty crops.

Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples has announced that the Texas Department of Agriculture has secured and awarded more than $1.8 million in funding to promote and develop Texas-grown specialty crops.

Twenty-six projects statewide have been chosen to receive the funding.

Some of the projects that will receive funding include the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association to establish a series of grape-growing workshops, the Texas Olive Oil Council, the Texas State Florists’ Association, and a move to prevent the spread of citrus greening in Texas through research and containment measures performed by Texas A&M Kingsville.

The Texas Department of Agriculture defines specialty crops as fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops.

“The specialty crop funding will further improve the ability of Texas consumers to access food grown right here in Texas while giving Texas farmers access to the tools and resources needed to grow their businesses and improve the quality of their crops,” said Staples.

Texas Tech University has also received two grants for improving management practices for olive oil production in Texas and “truffle production in Texas: adding value to the pecan industry.”

The University of Houston has also received a grant to create food safety best practices videos and workbooks for small farmers in Texas.