The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the funding of $7 million to support 11 projects that hope to develop solutions to challenges that are currently affect the specialty crop industry.
The Specialty Crop Multi-State Program strengthens food safety and seeks new ways to address plant pests, disease and any other crop-specific issues. Funding for the projects is managed through the group and is awarded competitively to state departments of agriculture that partner with stakeholder organizations in two or more states. This program helps industry stakeholders work together to tackle big agricultural challenges.
The 2018 SCMP projects include:
California Department of Food and Agriculture will partner with:
- The University of California's Western Institute for Food Safety & Security and Oregon State University for a food safety project to support food safety and honey bee health through veterinary education.
- The University of California and Oregon State University for a pest and plant health project to optimize phasmarhabditis nematodes for mitigating invasive gastropods in the western United States.
- USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, Washington State University and the University of California-Davis for a pest and plant health project to better understand esca trunk disease in multiple grape-production systems.
Indiana State Department of Agriculture and Purdue University will partner on a project to diversify sod production with sustainable turfgrasses.
Nebraska Department of Agriculture will partner with the University of Wisconsin and the University of Nebraska on a pest and plant health project to improve aronia berry sustainability and fruit quality.
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture will partner with:
- The Pennsylvania State University; collaborating with universities in Georgia, Maryland, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Ohio, North Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Louisiana and Florida on a pest and plant health project to develop a regional approach to cucurbit downy mildew prevention monitoring and management.
- The Pennsylvania State University, University of Maryland and the University of Florida on a pest and plant health project to develop a reliable, customized bio-control for fusarium wilt of the tomato.
- The U.S. Sweet Potato Council, Inc., collaborating with sweet potato commissions and councils in Alabama, California, Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina on a project to increase the market for sweet potatoes.
Texas Department of Agriculture will partner with Texas A&M University and the University of California on a project to improve nitrogen use efficiency and food safety in spinach production.
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will partner with:
- The University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Minnesota on a project to expand North American hazelnut production through the hedgerow hazelnut system.
- The University of Wisconsin-Madison and Michigan State University on a pest and plant health project to optimize disease management and yield in potato via microbiome-based prediction.