Wednesday, October 21, 2009

State announces $1 mill for specialty crops

According to a press release, New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker announced $989,664 in grants for 11 projects intended to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in New York State.  

Just about
anyone could apply for a grant through this program, but projects were required to benefit a commodity or the industry as a whole, not just a single entity.  A total of 92 applications requesting over $9.3 million were received by the Department.  

The majority of the awarded money went to Cornell researchers or Cornell-affiliated programs, as shown in this list (cut and pasted from the press release):

$199,750 – Reducing the Impact of Phytophthora Blight on Vegetables in New York (Cornell University):Phytophthora blight is a devastating plant disease that has become a significant threat to New York vegetable growers in recent years. This project will educate growers on how to prevent contamination on their farms as well as how to manage those fields that have the pathogen in order to reduce disease severity. It will also develop plant varieties that have tolerance to Phytophthora blight.


$35,055 – Developing a Strategy to Reduce Fire Blight Infection of Apple Rootstocks (New York State Agricultural Experiment Station*): Every year thousands of young apple trees die in New York due to the widespread occurrence of Fire Blight, a destructive and costly bacterial disease.  This project will research the role of several key factors influencing the disease in New York’s rootstocks and develop a comprehensive set of industry recommendations to reduce infections. 


$39,189 – Improving Forecasting and Management of Strawberry Powdery Mildew (New York State Agricultural Experiment Station): Strawberries are New York’s most valuable fruit crop and powdery mildew, caused by the fungus Podosphaera macularis, is a serious threat to the State’s strawberry production. Based on an investigation of the pathogen, this project will identify powdery mildew sources in New York, identify the critical periods for infection and develop biologically-based disease management recommendations.


$82,251 – Improving the Competitiveness of the Snap Bean Industry in New York through Resistance to Aphid-Transmitted Viruses (New York State Agricultural Experiment Station): Since 2001, yield losses associated with aphid-transmitted viruses have devastated the State’s snap bean industry, which is ranked second nationally. This project will develop snap beans with resistance to aphid-transmitted viruses, thereby reducing losses in production and improving yields and quality.


$82,816 – Increasing Utilization of Integrated Pest Management Tools in the New York State Christmas Tree Industry (New York State Integrated Pest Management Program*):  Integrated Pest Management (IPM) combines information on pest presence and identification with the available methods of control to determine the most effective, economical, and environmentally appropriate method of managing pests. This project will assist Christmas tree growers in increasing their use of IPM tools by demonstrating successful practices on farms throughout the State and creating a state-wide education plan.


$54,450 – Identifying the Health Benefits of New York Peaches and Apricots (New York State Agricultural Experiment Station):  Peaches and apricots are known to contain many proven health benefits, such as polyphenolic compounds, carotenoids and antioxidants; however the specific nutrient contents of fruits produced in New York is not currently available. This project will research and identify those New York State peach and apricot varieties that contain the highest levels of health benefits and develop value-added, shelf-stable products that can be available to consumers year-round.


$189,064 – Testing New Botrytis Leaf Blight Onion Lines & Hybrids to Develop the Best Strategies for Disease Control on Conventional and Organic Farms (Cornell University): Current onion cultivars are susceptible to the pathogen Botrytis squamosa, which causes Botrytis leafblight (BLB). This pathogen is endemic in New York onion fields and significant outbreaks occur yearly. This project will create a coordinated disease control program under New York onion growing conditions using BLB resistant or tolerant onion varieties.


$72,620 – Advancing Adoption of Reduced Tillage Systems in Conventional and Organic Vegetables in New York (Cornell University): New York State vegetable growers have reported reduced productivity and farm profitability due to declining soil health, in part due to conventional tillage practices that compact the soil. This project will promote and support modified Reduced Tillage strategies to enhance soil health, reduce fuel and labor use, build soil resilience to drought and flooding, and reduce field preparation costs (up to 50%). 


$57,025 – Demonstration of Northeast-based Honeybee Production & Disease Management (Johnson’s Honeybee Farm): Commercial beekeeping in New York is currently faced with several significant challenges including the cost of restocking hives each year, the importation of queens from warmer climates that are not adapted to the Northeast, and parasites that lead to disease and substantial production losses. This project will demonstrate a system whereby Northeast beekeepers can produce bees for restocking hives, make mite-resistant bees more available to beekeepers and begin a cooperative program to develop bees more resistant to the latest disease affecting the industry, Nosema caranae.


$90,672 – Reducing Production Costs and Improving Wine Quality through Root Zone Management (Cornell University): New York's wine and grape industry has shown continued growth and achieved recognition nationally and internationally, but continued improvements to wine quality will expand recognition and sales. Excessive vine growth, the result of rich soils and excessive precipitation, can decrease fruit flavors and aromas, and has been identified as a major challenge in the production of high-quality wine grapes in cool climates. This project will explore a potential cost-effective option for reducing excessive vine growth and develop optimal strategies specifically designed for New York’s climate.

*note that the NYS Ag Experimental Station and the NYS IPM program are both affiliated with Cornell.

No comments:

Post a Comment