Napa County to receive $500,000 in funding for farmer training, recruitment

Napa County will receive $500,000 in federal funding for farmworker training programs connected to grape growing, Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, recently announced.

That funding is set to come through the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which provides funding to “enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops and support specialty crop growers through marketing, education and research,” according to a news release.

“Our region has a strong tradition of agriculture made possible by the farmworkers who work every day to grow world-class products,” Thompson said in the release.

“The funding from the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant Program will help to recruit and retain farmworkers and provide current farmworkers with the training and education they need to build a successful career in the fields and beyond.”

The money will be used to recruit beginning and young farmers — including members of disadvantaged and representative groups, such as women and veterans — to “specialty crop career opportunities.”

That will be achieved through “Fields of Opportunity,” a youth mentorship program and new year-round apprenticeship program.

The funding also will be used to create workforce training programs to help farmers develop and maintain technical skills needed for specialty crops.

Programs will include a conference on leadership and management training, as well as “bilingual train-the-trainer” workshops for Napa farmworkers who speak Spanish.

You can reach Staff Writer Edward Booth at 707-521-5281 or

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