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hand, should society neglect to support such work, our understanding of human diseases and problems will grow stale and out-of-date, resulting in less than optimum human health.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industry should neglect to support research, our understanding of how best to grow crops could grow stale and out-of-date, resulting in even more difficulties in remaining productive and competitive.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
Citrus
July 5, 2017
Give Tech Companies the Expertise They Lack [Opinion]
One problem with many agricultural technology start up companies is that no one on staff has a farming background. That's easy enough to fix. Volunteer your expertise. Read More
Citrus
July 5, 2017
Want Labor-Saving Harvest Equipment? Collaborate.
Innovation and technology start with growers working with their peers and manufacturers. Read More
Berries
July 1, 2017
Water is a Must for Berry Crops
As the adage goes, “ability is availability” as so it goes for water. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 30, 2017
Tackling the Challenges of Organic Apple Production Head-on
Researchers at Michigan State University test organic controls for fire blight. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 29, 2017
Integrating Control Methods to Tackle Fire Blight
Fire blight is a damaging disease, no matter the location. Most production areas of the Pacific Northwest and California experience Read More
Irrigation
June 28, 2017
Robert Sakata Talks About Water
The Colorado grower discusses how water issues have changed which crops they grow where, and raises the idea of leasing water rights during droughts replacing crop income. Read More
honeybee with varroa mite
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Study Suggests Modern Beekeeping Gives Varroa Mites Ideal Conditions to Spread
Parasite has adapted, thrived with colonies in modern hives. Read More
More Vegetables
June 21, 2017
Variety Specs | Production Tips: Pumpkin ‘Bayhorse Gold’ from Rupp Seeds
Each month, American Vegetable Grower® will offer growing tips on specific varieties, supplied by the breeder or distributor. This month, Read More
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Storm Runoff May Recharge Aquifers and Your Crops
A new study hints that tapping into storm water during dry years does more than increase water table levels. Read More
Citrus
June 19, 2017
$9M in Grants Allocated to Address Ag Water Resources Issues
Projects that focus on drought stress, flooding, water quality, and postharvest use are among awardees. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 19, 2017
Bee-ware: New Resources Released for National Pollinator Week
New videos, webinars available during week-long observance. Read More
Harvest CROO Robotics mobile strawberry picking platform
Berries
June 13, 2017
Robotic Strawberry Picker Ramping up for Rollout
Florida-based agtech company officially unveils autonomous mobile platform. Read More
Irrigation
June 7, 2017
Managing Pivot Irrigation in Drought Areas
Navajo Agricultural Products Industry's Crop Manager Amanda Kerr shares her method to ensure the operation is always as prepared as possible for a drought. Read More
honeybees
Fruits
June 6, 2017
Survey: Bee Loss Drops Last Season
Bee Informed Partnership says preliminary analysis of results show second-lowest loss rate recorded in last seven years. Read More
Center pivot irrigation system at Florida research farm
Citrus
June 1, 2017
Big Bucks up for Grabs to Water-Wise Florida Farmers
St. Johns River Water Management District cost-share funding would support implementation of conservation-minded practices and technologies. Read More
The Latest
Organic
July 19, 2017
4 Challenges Large Operations Face in Or…
Organic vegetable production in Monterey County has evolved over the past 25 years. It was once the domain of small- Read More
Citrus
July 12, 2017
USDA Pulls 8 Products from Approved Orga…
After a few months of speculation, the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service has published its Sunset 2017 final rule on approved products for organic production and handling. Read More
Fruits
July 9, 2017
USDA Invests $6.8 Million for Pollinator…
Projects focus on colony losses, pollinator habitats, and increase pollinator populations. Read More
Citrus
July 5, 2017
Give Tech Companies the Expertise They L…
One problem with many agricultural technology start up companies is that no one on staff has a farming background. That's easy enough to fix. Volunteer your expertise. Read More
Citrus
July 5, 2017
Want Labor-Saving Harvest Equipment? Col…
Innovation and technology start with growers working with their peers and manufacturers. Read More
Irrigation
June 28, 2017
Robert Sakata Talks About Water
The Colorado grower discusses how water issues have changed which crops they grow where, and raises the idea of leasing water rights during droughts replacing crop income. Read More
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Study Suggests Modern Beekeeping Gives V…
Parasite has adapted, thrived with colonies in modern hives. Read More
More Vegetables
June 21, 2017
Variety Specs | Production Tips: Pumpkin…
Each month, American Vegetable Grower® will offer growing tips on specific varieties, supplied by the breeder or distributor. This month, Read More
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Storm Runoff May Recharge Aquifers and Y…
A new study hints that tapping into storm water during dry years does more than increase water table levels. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 19, 2017
Bee-ware: New Resources Released for Nat…
New videos, webinars available during week-long observance. Read More
Irrigation
June 7, 2017
Managing Pivot Irrigation in Drought Are…
Navajo Agricultural Products Industry's Crop Manager Amanda Kerr shares her method to ensure the operation is always as prepared as possible for a drought. Read More
Fruits
June 6, 2017
Survey: Bee Loss Drops Last Season
Bee Informed Partnership says preliminary analysis of results show second-lowest loss rate recorded in last seven years. Read More
Production
May 31, 2017
Speak Your Greenhouse Plants’ Language
Let’s go over some the necessary terms you need to understand so you can talk about your plants. Read More
Production
May 31, 2017
8 Tips to Improve Your Cover Crop Progra…
Researchers who work with growers on field tests pick up a lot of practical lessons along the way that are worth passing along. Read More
Organic
May 24, 2017
Organic Growers in Turmoil (Opinion)
Although consumers are demanding, and getting more organic produce options, growers are grappling with fundamental questions. Read More
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Webinar Series Highlights New Research o…
National Pollinator Week webinar showcases research to improve honeybee colony health by 2020. Read More
Production
May 13, 2017
Considering Cover Crops? Find Out Which …
What is most effective in suppressing weeds and increasing yield — no till cover crop, row till, or conventional till? Read More
Organic
May 8, 2017
The Small Organic Farm Life
Full Moon Farm provides Vermont’s Lieutenant Governor, David Zuckerman, and his wife, Rachel Nevitt, creative outlets and the freedom to pursue their passions. Read More