Gennaro Fazio, PhD
Apple Rootstock Breeder and Geneticist
Plant Genetic Resources Unit USDA ARS
Cornell University - 630 W. North St., Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 787-2480 Office (315) 787-2216 Fax
From: Martin, Jennifer [mailto:jmartin@CSREES.USDA.GOV] On Behalf Of
Sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2008 3:44 PM
To: CSREES News Subscription List
Subject: USDA Awards More Than $28 Million in Specialty Crop Research
To view this news release online, visit
Media Contact: Jennifer Martin, (202) 720-8188
USDA Awards More Than $28 Million in Specialty Crop Research
WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2008 - Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer today
announced that USDA has awarded more than $28 million through the
Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) to solve critical specialty
crop agriculture issues, address priorities and solve problems through
multifunctional research and extension.
The Specialty Crop Research Initiative was established by the 2008 Farm
Bill to support the specialty crop industry by developing and
disseminating science-based tools to address needs of specific crops and
their regions in five focus areas: 1) improve crop characteristics
through plant breeding, genetics and genomics; 2) address threats from
pests and diseases; 3) improve production efficiency, productivity and
profitability; 4) develop new innovations and technologies and 5)
develop methods to improve food safety. Each of the focus areas received
at least 10 percent of the available funds. The majority of the funded
projects address two or more focus areas.
The funded projects address research and extension needs for crops that
span the entire spectrum of specialty crops, from sustainable production
systems for turf grass to mechanical fruit thinning devices for peach
and apple. Except for projects that addressed plant breeding, genetics
and genomics of specific crops, successful applicants simultaneously
addressed needs in more than a single crop. Major projects were also
funded to protect important specialty crops from invasive pests, such as
Although 17 institutions will manage the research/extension grant funds
from this program, each award includes collaborators from an average of
three other states who will work together in a multi-disciplinary
approach to solve problems. All of the awards required 100 percent
matching funds from non-federal sources which will double the impact of
the award dollars.
Fiscal Year 2008 SCRI research and extension grants were awarded to:
* University of California-Davis, $3,221,134: Advanced Sensing and
Management to Optimize Water and Nitrogen Use in Tree Crops.
* Colorado State University, $1,667,679: Risk Assessment of
Sampling Methods for Evaluating the Microbial Safety of Fresh Produce.
* USDA/ARS U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory (FL), $991,591:
Development of a Decision Support System for Managing Viral Watermelon
Vine Decline and Other Vegetable Diseases Caused by Whitefly-Transmit.
* University of Georgia, $1,703,301: Advancing Blueberry
Production Efficiency by Enabling Mechanical Harvest, Improving Fruit
Quality and Safety, and Managing Emerging Diseases.
* USDA/ARS Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center (HI),
$437,000: Ohelo, Vaccinium reticulatum, A Specialty Ornamental and Value
Added Crop from Hawaii.
* Purdue University, $350,000: A Multidisciplinary Approach to
Develop a Safe and Effective Chlorine Dioxide Gas System for Controlling
Pathogens in the Produce Industry.
* USDA/ARS Beltsville Area Research Center (MD), $1,000,000:
Generating Genomic Tools for Blueberry Improvement.
* Michigan State University, $555,313: Multi-Faceted Approach for
Soil Detection and Management of Pythium and Phytophthora in Carrot,
Tomato, Cucurbits, and Asparagus.
* Rutgers University, $996,687: Breeding and Genetics of Fruit-Rot
Resistance and Polyphenolics in the American Cranberry.
* The Ohio State University, $1,113,214: Social Networking, Market
and Commercialization Infrastructure for Midwestern Fruit and Vegetable
Crops in Local Food Systems.
* Carnegie Mellon University, $3,996,247: Integrated Automation
for Sustainable Specialty Crop Farming.
* Carnegie Mellon University, $6,010,232: Comprehensive Automation
for Specialty Crops.
* The Pennsylvania State University, $1,000,000: Innovative
Technologies for Thinning of Fruit.
* USDA/ARS Kika de la Garza Subtropical Agricultural Research
Center (TX), $493,290: Development of an Area-Wide Approach for
Controlling Infection and Spread of HLB of Asian Citrus Psyllid.
* Washington State University, $2,244,274: Enhancing Biological
Control to Stabilize Western Orchard IPM Systems.
* University of Wisconsin, $485,085: Increasing the Environmental
and Economic Sustainability of Sod Production using Biosolids.
* USDA/ARS University of Wisconsin, $371,845: Deployment of
Nutrient-Rich Nematode-Resistant Carrots to Benefit Growers, Consumers,
and the Environment.
* USDA/ARS University of Wisconsin, $998,957: Ensuring U.S. Onion
Sustainability: Breeding and Genomics to Control Thrips and Iris Yellow
The 2008 awards included a group of planning grants that will enable
awardees to develop quality proposals for future SCRI funding
opportunities. The FY 2008 planning grants were awarded to:
* University of Arizona, $50,515: Informed Stakeholder Management
of Virus-Vector Disease Reservoirs in Southwestern-U.S. Irrigated
Vegetable Crops using GIS Mapping and Bio-Climatic/Economic Projections.
* University of California-Davis, $99,994: A Multitasking Sensor
Platform for Precision Management of Specialty Crop Production.
* University of Florida, $92,308: Planning Meeting for Woody
Landscape Plant Production and Pest Management Innovation.
* Iowa State University, $34,020: Bioplastic Container Cropping
Systems: GreenTechnology for the Green Industry.
* Michigan State University, $75,000: Expanding Fresh Vegetable
Production for the Great Lakes Market: A Planning Grant.
* The Pennsylvania State University, $99,646: Aligning Consumer
Demand, Agricultural Industry Resources and Research and Education to
Service Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Markets.
* University of Vermont, $100,000: A Public-Private Partnership to
Promote Integrated Pest Management Implementation in Northern New
England Greenhouse Ornamentals.
* Washington State University, $98,181: Project Planning for
Specialty Crop Covers that Use Degradable Materials.
* Washington State University, $79,487: Developing a Team to
Address Optimizing the White Wine Quality Through Plant Nutrient
Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and
extension programs, CSREES focuses on investing in science and solving
critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future.
For more information, visit www.csrees.usda.gov
This news release is a service of the USDA's Cooperative State Research,
Education, and Extension Service. To view other agency news, visit
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