Eleven Cornell Specialty Crop Projects Receive Almost $1M

N.Y. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo granted money to fund crop research, including organic and sustainable specialty crop grower education...

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Via the Cornell Chronicle, 12/18/12

At Cornell, researchers are working to enhance specialty crops by training hop growers, promoting disease-tested grape vines and developing weed suppressive turf.

These Cornell projects and others that research, develop and promote specialty crops, including fruits and vegetables, tree nuts and nursery crops, have received a total of $1 million from N.Y. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. The grants include $200,000 to help support the growth of the state's wine, beer and spirits industries.

Projects being done at three county offices of Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE), three Cornell departments, and the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management each received 2012 Specialty Crop Block Grants Dec. 12.

"As part of being an entrepreneurial government, New York is partnering with the private sector to establish our state as a leader in the production of a wide array of goods, from Greek yogurt to craft beer," Cuomo said. "With a robust, diverse agriculture sector, these awards will help our state join together with these rapidly growing industries to create new jobs and spur economic development in all corners of New York."

The 2012 Specialty Crop Block Grant awards are to:

• Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology: $98,428, to increase the amount of disease-tested vines planted in New York; $98,225, to conduct a survey of fire blight in New York to improve control options for growers; $100,000, to conduct risk assessment and manage new challenges in phytophthora blight for New York vegetables; and $98,095, to enhance disease management by exploring and exploiting a novel suppression of powdery mildew in plants, without the use of fungicides.

• Department of Entomology, $99,694, to manage spotted wing drosophila, including an evaluation of risk factors associated with the pest; $55,000, with the Department of Horticulture, to increase the profitability and competitiveness of fresh-market vegetable farms by capitalizing on the pollination services provided by bumble bees.

• Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, $96,759, to examine current labor options and policies on specialty crop farms in New York state.

• Department of Horticulture, $88,684, to develop weed suppressive turf for organic landscape management.

• CCE of Suffolk County, Agricultural Stewardship Program, $63,359, to adopt a comprehensive integrated pest management program that addresses the pest issues specific to tree fruit grown in Long Island's maritime climate.

• CCE of Clinton County, $57,988, to develop best management practices to enhance yield, extend the growing season, protect crops from weather extremes and manage pests and diseases.

• CCE of Madison County, $95,931, to help New York hop growers grow and process hops of the quality required by brewers.

In addition, a non-Cornell entity, the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York Inc. received $50,522 for intermediate and advanced organic and sustainable specialty crop grower education to increase competitiveness in the marketplace.

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