Commodity Board Research Promotes Industry Growth

Recently three researchers were named as joint awardees of the Nobel Prize in Medicine. This international accolade brings to mind the importance of investing in medical research. On the other hand, should society neglect to support such work, our understanding of human diseases and problems will grow stale and out-of-date, resulting in less than optimum human health.

Steve Koike
Steve Koike

If the agricultural industry should neglect to support research, our understanding of how best to grow crops could grow stale and out-of-date, resulting in even more difficulties in remaining productive and competitive. Research is therefore an essential component for those agricultural industries that are forward-looking and want to survive for the long term. Because growing crops is such a challenging endeavor, research is always needed to find improvements.

New cultivars, better ways to control pests, novel production strategies, new fertilizer formulations, preservation of water quality, improved harvesting methods, and better equipment are but a few things calling for investigative efforts. Research is also the primary means by which new challenges, such as invasive pests and foodborne pathogen outbreaks, are addressed.

Commodity Sponsored Research
California has perhaps one of the most advanced and active commodity-sponsored research arrangements in the country. Commodity boards collect funds from growers, shippers, and other industry sectors via assessments on crop yields. Portions of these monies are designated for research projects that are selected by research committees on these boards.

In this way, the commodity group has a mechanism by which research can be directed to address high-priority concerns. In California, numerous such boards exist for the various vegetable, tree fruit and nut, field crop, and horticultural industries. This system has been in place for decades and has been a successful working model for agriculture in the West.

Commodity boards often support researchers, including the ones pictured here from the University of California Cooperative Extension (left to right) Mark Bolda, Michael Cahn, and Richard Smith.
Commodity boards often support researchers, including the ones pictured here from the University of California Cooperative Extension (left to right) Mark Bolda, Michael Cahn, and Richard Smith.

For example, commodity board activities in the West have enabled researchers to study and understand emerging issues in agriculture, including:

  • California commodity board-sponsored research on a previously unheard of virus of celery, Apium virus Y.
  • The source, disease cycle, and management of tomato spotted wilt virus are being investigated for tomato.
  • Root maggots and other soilborne insect pests are being studied for a number of coastal California vegetable crops.
  • New soilborne pathogens of strawberry are being identified and studied in light of the pending loss of soil applied fumigants.

Optimizing the use of fertilizers is a key issue being addressed by various commodity boards and groups. Because of increased scrutiny over foodborne pathogen outbreaks, examining production and postharvest handling practices is a high priority for many commodity research boards. Such boards are now significantly investing research dollars in this area.

Bringing Industry Together
Industry commodity group boards serve other purposes, besides research. Another benefit is unifying the industry as it jointly addresses issues. The research board mechanism brings together members from various competing companies and people representing different parts of the business.

When board members deliberate on research priorities and funding decisions, they can share field experiences and pass on their unique perspectives on what is happening on the farm. The research findings that are generated by the commodity board are also shared with all participants.

The commodity board research model is therefore an effective means of addressing emerging concerns, long-term problems, and issues that arise for that commodity. The group that maintains a research program is at least partially insulated against sliding back into status quo complacency; maintaining a research perspective helps keeps industry sharp, innovative, and competitive.

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

Production Stories
Oggun tractor
Equipment
June 17, 2016
New Tractor For The Small Grower On The Horizon
New business venture's goal is to meet the needs of those producing on a limited number of acres. Read More
Crown gall on a trunk of French hybrid ‘Chancellor’ before and after bark is stripped away. Galls appear in spring as white callous tissue, most often at the base of the trunk, gradually turning green/brown and finally dying to turn into dark brown/black corky tissue. (Photo credit: Penn State University)
Cold Protection
June 15, 2016
Several Severe Winters Causing Crown Gall Concerns
Although this past winter may be considered more mild, severe cold the two winters prior in the Midwest and Northeast Read More
Hortau for web
Fruits
June 10, 2016
5 Components To Help Streamline The Irrigation Process
Check out details on some of the latest products to help you achieve efficiencies in your irrigation system. Read More
A vineyard map image showing data layered on Google Earth. (Photo credit: Google Earth and Cornell University)
Grapes
June 9, 2016
High-Tech Solutions Could Improve Grape Crop Estimates
Determining accurate estimates of grape crop yield is notoriously difficult, but new methods involving precision sensing technology could help growers Read More
A warm winter could lead to an early harvest for  Washington grape.
(Photo credit: Washington State University)
Grapes
June 9, 2016
Washington Grape Growers Could See Early Harvest
Grape growers in eastern Washington who thought last year’s harvest was early could be in for another surprise. An unseasonably Read More
Bill Lamont, a Professor at Penn State University and specialist in water delivery and management systems for vegetable crops, explains that most growers in the state are sourcing water from ponds, rivers, streams, and wells. The biggest challenge he sees with water conservation in the state is making sure growers have enough water in their ponds to meet crop needs. 
Photo courtesy of Bill Lamont
Irrigation
June 8, 2016
How To Use Irrigation Water Wisely For Your Vegetable Crops
Experts from both coasts share advice on ways to save this precious resource on the farm, including drip tape management and increasing organic matter. Read More
Tail water recovery pump from  C&B Farms in Florida
Irrigation
June 6, 2016
How To Maximize Water Efficiency On Your Vegetable Farm
Growers from both East and West reveal how they get the most from their water supply – and save money. Read More
The Latest
Equipment
June 17, 2016
New Tractor For The Small Grower On The …
New business venture's goal is to meet the needs of those producing on a limited number of acres. Read More
Fruits
June 10, 2016
5 Components To Help Streamline The Irri…
Check out details on some of the latest products to help you achieve efficiencies in your irrigation system. Read More
Irrigation
June 8, 2016
How To Use Irrigation Water Wisely For Y…
Experts from both coasts share advice on ways to save this precious resource on the farm, including drip tape management and increasing organic matter. Read More
Irrigation
June 6, 2016
How To Maximize Water Efficiency On Your…
Growers from both East and West reveal how they get the most from their water supply – and save money. Read More
Fruits
June 4, 2016
Small Farmers To Gather In Fall
Meeting will address the challenges small farmers face and their vital role in American agriculture. Read More
Fruits
May 25, 2016
Farm Bureau Says EPA, Army Corps Of Engi…
AFBF told Congress that the Army Corps' novel interpretations of environmental law are threatening farmers in California and other areas of the country. Read More
Citrus
May 17, 2016
$130 Million In Funds For Fruit And Vege…
USDA allocates funds for Extension, organic production, food safety, and technology grants. Read More
Fruits
May 12, 2016
Study: Climate Change Putting Sting On N…
Analysis of record-breaking 2010 cold spell yields hot leads about chilling effect on tropical bees in South Florida. Read More
Citrus
May 10, 2016
Survey: Beekeepers Lost 44% Of Bees Last…
Responses indicate summer losses rival winter losses for second year in a row. Read More
Production
May 6, 2016
A Close Look At The GMO Breeding Process
A plant breeding expert details the scientific procedures required to bring GMO crops to market. Read More
Farm Management
May 2, 2016
USDA Unveils New Urban Agriculture Toolk…
For urban farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs, the toolkit is an electronic document that helps users navigate more than 70 resources, including technical assistance and financing opportunities. Read More
Production
April 28, 2016
Farm Demonstration Visits To Focus On So…
California farmers will share practical experiences in “growing” healthy soil. Read More
Cucurbits
April 25, 2016
How To Maintain Proper Irrigation And Pe…
Fine-tune your irrigation practices, know which pests target melon crops, and make sure the inside of your tunnel doesn’t get too hot. Read More
Fruits
April 15, 2016
New Video Takes An Inside Look At Pollin…
The European honeybee gets all the attention, but there are more than 3,600 species of wild bees in North America. Read More
Fruits
April 12, 2016
App Helps Protect Bees In The Field
Oregon State University publication recommends best practices for managing pesticide applications to protect bees via a smartphone app. Read More
Production
April 8, 2016
Irrigation Options For Protected Culture
If you produce in the field and plan to add a greenhouse, or if you plan to switch from ornamentals to vegetables in protected culture, understand the systems involved and know your water source. Read More
Production
April 7, 2016
How To Determine The Right Greenhouse St…
When switching crops or adding a greenhouse to produce vegetables, experts say to start out small when investing in facilities. Read More
Production
April 6, 2016
New Technology May Help Crops Survive Dr…
Research from Purdue University may be valuable to commercial growers and useful for many species of plants. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]