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hand, should society neglect to support such work, our understanding of human diseases and problems will grow stale and out-of-date, resulting in less than optimum human health.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industry should neglect to support research, our understanding of how best to grow crops could grow stale and out-of-date, resulting in even more difficulties in remaining productive and competitive.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
IPMWhat You Need To Know To Maintain An Effective IPM Program In The Greenhouse
January 28, 2015
Greenhouse expert Karin Tifft discusses the importance of scouting, pest identification, control options, and the importance of sanitation. Read More
FruitsHighlights From The Mid-Atlantic Fruit And Vegetable Convention
January 28, 2015
Bio-control use, media literacy, and disease control were just a few of the topics discussed at the convention held in Hershey, PA. Read More
FertilizerEasy Access To Fertilization Guidelines
January 28, 2015
New, easy-to-follow brochures take the guesswork out of almond and walnut fertilization. Read More
FruitsUSDA Forecast Predicts Normal Water Supply For Parts Of The West
January 27, 2015
The Southwest, Sierra Nevada region, and Pacific Northwest are starting the year drier than normal. Read More
CitrusShopping For UAVs? Here Are 2 To Consider
January 25, 2015
Check out a couple of high-flying options from Altavian. Read More
FruitsJiffy Pumped To Introduce New Produce Propagation System
January 23, 2015
PreGro concept to make its debut at Fruit Logistica. Read More
CitrusElevated Expectations For UAV Use In Agriculture
January 15, 2015
Uncertainties aside, many believe unmanned aircraft will find a lasting place in farming. Read More
The Latest
FruitsHighlights From The Mid-Atlantic Fruit And Vegetable Co…
January 28, 2015
Bio-control use, media literacy, and disease control were just a few of the topics discussed at the convention held in Hershey, PA. Read More
FruitsUSDA Forecast Predicts Normal Water Supply For Parts Of…
January 27, 2015
The Southwest, Sierra Nevada region, and Pacific Northwest are starting the year drier than normal. Read More
FruitsJiffy Pumped To Introduce New Produce Propagation Syste…
January 23, 2015
PreGro concept to make its debut at Fruit Logistica. Read More
CitrusElevated Expectations For UAV Use In Agriculture
January 15, 2015
Uncertainties aside, many believe unmanned aircraft will find a lasting place in farming. Read More
CucurbitsHow To Be Successful Using Grafted Vegetable Plants
January 15, 2015
University of Arizona researcher offers advice on purchasing commercially grafted plants, pitfalls to avoid, and an update on the latest technology. Read More
FruitsUSDA Announces Kick Off Of The International Year Of So…
January 7, 2015
In 2015, the nations of the world are focusing their collective attention to the primary resource essential to food production: soil. Read More
CitrusAce Pump Adds Two New Stainless Models To Its 650 Max S…
December 22, 2014
The equipment is designed to provide long-lasting performance. Read More
ProductionNational Vegetable Grafting Symposium To Take Place Jan…
December 17, 2014
The third grafting symposium, Growing New Roots for the Vegetable Industry in the U.S., will be held at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center in Savannah, GA. Read More
CitrusSouth Florida Takes Plunge With Major Expansion Of Wate…
December 15, 2014
New ag land partnerships, including a $124 million deal with Alico, more than double the current holding capacity. Read More
IrrigationNew Interactive Website Provides Visual Coverage Of Dro…
December 10, 2014
The site, developed by the U.S. Geological Survey provides maps and plots of reservoir storage, and other information on water resources in California. Read More
Crop ProtectionSustainability’s Unintended Consequences [Opinion]
December 5, 2014
The good and bad of Whole Foods’ “Responsibly Grown” initiative. Read More
FruitsA Combination Of Culprits Are Related To The Decline I…
December 3, 2014
The latest research into Colony Collapse Disorder is focused on a number of issues facing bee populations. Read More
EquipmentHighlights From EIMA International In Italy [Slideshow]
November 19, 2014
The 2014 edition of the International Agricultural and Gardening Machinery Exhibition (EIMA) boasted a record number of attendees from 124 countries. Read More
IrrigationAlmond Grower Honored For Water Efficiency
November 18, 2014
Ongoing drought highlights the efforts of third-generation Madera County grower Tom Rogers. Read More
FruitsColorado, Oregon Voters Say No To Labeling GMOs
November 6, 2014
Voters echo past results of California and Washington elections. Read More
NutsPistachio Production Short Course Slated
November 5, 2014
Sessions are based on accepted science and designed for orchard decision makers. Read More
ProductionEnvision A Sustainable Future
November 4, 2014
Find out what you need to do to increase your sustainability efforts and produce vegetables for years to come. Read More
ProductionTactics To Maximize Available Water
November 4, 2014
Follow these 10 tips to help you get the most from your irrigation water. Read More