NAPA COUNTY will get $500,000 in funding to recruit and train farmers, including those from disadvantaged and underrepresented groups, U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, said.

The grant, through the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP), will boost efforts to develop and maintain skills of farmers in Napa to keep the state’s specialty crops sector competitive, the congressman said in a statement Aug. 23.

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

Napa County officials said they are seeking to attract young farmers to winegrape growing through youth mentorship and apprenticeship programs. 

According to Thompson’s office, there will be bilingual train-the-trainer workshops for Napa farmworkers who speak Spanish.