In this July 27, 2012, file photo, wild blueberries await harvesting in Warren. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

A maker of a wild blueberry beverage, the University of Maine’s ecology school and the state’s maple producers’ organization are among the recipients of federal specialty crop funding in Maine.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing more than $500,000 to boost the specialty crop industry in the state. Another grant will go to the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association to help improve competitiveness of specialty crops and increase farmer compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act, Maine’s two U.S. senators said.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins and independent Sen. Angus King said the federal help “will strengthen Maine’s agricultural sector by supporting the development of more resilient fruits and vegetables and boosting farmers’ sales through increased marketing.”