Strawberry Sustainability Focus Of Grants

After a $3 million donation by the Walmart Foundation to the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, close to 20 projects are now under way to increase growth sustainability for strawberries. This grants program, administered by the division’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability (CARS), attracted 56 proposals from agricultural research and extension personnel at land-grant public universities in 29 states. Those whose projects were selected are to be given one year to complete their projects, and their reports will be released by CARS in September 2014.

“This grant project seeks to move the science and technology for alternative strawberry production systems and areas away from laboratories and experiment farms into the producers’ fields,” said Curt Rom, professor of horticulture in the Division of Agriculture and member of the CARS leadership team. “The goal is to increase local and regional production of strawberries, to reduce the environmental impact of production, to reduce transportation distances between farms and markets or consumers, to reduce product loss in the supply-value chain, and improve the environmental and economic sustainability of the production system. It will make significant local and regional impacts.”

Some examples of projects include Chieri Kubota’s goal to establish sustainable off-season hydroponic strawberry production in the desert Southwest, where there is practically no commercial production of strawberries, but there are strong greenhouse industries. Being that the price competition for tomatoes is so aggressive, the greenhouse industry is continuously experiencing pressure for diversification, which is where Kubota’s project offers promise.

The purpose of Thomas Gordon’s project is to evaluate a wide range of strawberry cultivars and the use of compost in non-fumigated soil in three different California geographic regions. The performance of strawberry cultivars will be evaluated by measuring yield and fungal damage. The results of this project will help to guide growers in selection of cultivars and the use of compost to optimize production.

Carlene Chase’s project will develop open-field and high tunnel organic strawberry cropping systems that are more environmentally and economically sustainable and are resilient to weeds, pests, and diseases. The team will select and promote strawberry cultivars specifically for organic systems and determine consumer preference and willingness to pay for strawberries with different sustainability attributes.

A complete list of the winners and their projects is given below:

  • Michelle Schroeder-Moreno, North Carolina State University, “Sustainable Soil Management Practices for Strawberries: Evaluation of Individual and Integrated Approaches.”
  • Chieri Kubota, University of Arizona, “Sustainable Off-Season Production of High-Quality Hydroponic Strawberry in Desert Southwest.”
  • Ganti Murthy, Oregon State University, “Creating Life Cycle Inventory Datasets to Support Meaningful and Constructive Strawberry Production Sustainability Metrics.”
  • Ruijun Qin, University of California, “Optimizing Fumigation Rate, Application Depth, and Plastic Mulch Use for Strawberry Production in Raised-Bed Systems.”
  • Ellen Paparozzi, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, “Winter Production of Nebraska Strawberries: An Idea Whose Time Has Come.”
  • Suping Zhou, Tennessee State University, “Developing the Logistics for Producing Human Pathogen-free Organic Strawberries in the State of Tennessee.”
  • Cary Rivard, Kansas State University, “Development and Adoption of Annual, Plasticulture Strawberry Production in the Great Plains.”
  • Jeffrey Brecht, University of Florida, “Reducing Strawberry Waste and Losses in the Postharvest Supply Chain via Intelligent Distribution Management.”
  • Oleg Daugovish, University of California Cooperative Extension, “Placement of Additional Drip Lines to Enhance Soil Fumigation and Irrigation Efficiency and Minimize Environmental Impacts.”
  • Thomas Gordon, University of California at Davis, “Sustainable Strawberry Production in the Absence of Soil Fumigation.”
  • Emily Hoover, University of Minnesota, “Development of a Comprehensive, Engaging E-Learning Tool for Strawberry Farmers.”
  • Elena Garcia, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, “Revitalizing Strawberry Production in Arkansas and the Surrounding Region via Extended Season Production Systems.”
  • Jeremy Pattison, North Carolina State University, “Strawberry Grower Education and Adoption of Research Innovations: Technology Transfer of Production Recommendations.”
  • Carlene Chase, University of Florida, “Organic Open-field and High Tunnel Strawberry Cropping Systems for Long-term Viability of the Southeastern Industry.”
  • Russell Wallace, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, “Revitalization of Texas Strawberry Industry Through Identification of Production Constraints and Introduction of New Technologies.”
  • Leonard Githinji, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, “Establishing and Expanding Sustainable Strawberry Production in Eastern Arkansas and Surrounding Areas.”

“Upon completion of these projects, we will have a foundation for improving the sustainability of the U.S. strawberry production system through the supply chain, from growers to consumers,” Rom said. Considering that strawberries are the fifth most popular fruit consumed in the U.S., one can certainly see how vital these projects will be to the future of this beloved product. The resulting reports should certainly stir much anticipation for strawberry farmers nationwide.

For more information, you may go to the National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative website at http://strawberry.uark.edu.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Berries Stories
Apples & PearsSurvey: Positive Indicators For Biocontrols In U.S. Horticulture, Agriculture
January 22, 2015
Preliminary results of a survey conducted in December 2014 of more than 850 readers across six Meister Media Worldwide titles Read More
Apples & PearsReal-World Solutions Highlight First Biocontrols 2015 Conference & Tradeshow
January 22, 2015
Topping the inaugural event's marquee are presentations on “Driving Crop Quality and Productivity Using Biocontrols” by representatives from two of the largest produce growing organizations in the country. Read More
Apples & PearsRosBREED 2 Program Focuses On Disease Resistance And Quality
January 19, 2015
The next generation of the federally funded RosBREED research program uses DNA techniques to deliver varieties that benefit both growers and consumers. Read More
BerriesCalifornia Strawberry Commission Awarded More than $1 Million To Reduce Fumigation
January 14, 2015
Strawberry farmers are dedicated to finding sustainable alternatives to fumigants such as methyl bromide. Read More
BerriesStrawberry Growers Get New Disease-Fighting Smartphone App
January 12, 2015
Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference attendees get first look at ‘MyIPM.’ Read More
BerriesWhat You Need To Know About Aronia, Goji, And Saskatoon Berries
January 2, 2015
Leading researchers and universities offer some advice and basic information about relatively unknown berry plants. Read More
BerriesGrowers Try Their Hand At Next Wave Of Berry Crops
January 2, 2015
Saskatoon, goji, and aronia berries can provide new options for growers looking to expand their berry offerings. Read More
The Latest
BerriesDormant Pruning Tips For Your Berries
January 28, 2015
Proper dormant pruning increases berry size and improves overall health of blackberry and raspberry plants. Read More
BerriesWhy You Should Be Growing Black Raspberries
January 27, 2015
Amazing health benefits for consumers and production and marketing benefits for the grower make this berry a must-consider option for your operation. Read More
BerriesIf You Could Plant Any Type Of Fruit, Consider A Canebe…
January 23, 2015
Raspberries or a blackberries present some berry good options. Read More
Apples & PearsSurvey: Positive Indicators For Biocontrols In U.S. Hor…
January 22, 2015
Preliminary results of a survey conducted in December 2014 of more than 850 readers across six Meister Media Worldwide titles Read More
Apples & PearsReal-World Solutions Highlight First Biocontrols 2015 C…
January 22, 2015
Topping the inaugural event's marquee are presentations on “Driving Crop Quality and Productivity Using Biocontrols” by representatives from two of the largest produce growing organizations in the country. Read More
Apples & PearsRosBREED 2 Program Focuses On Disease Resistance And Qu…
January 19, 2015
The next generation of the federally funded RosBREED research program uses DNA techniques to deliver varieties that benefit both growers and consumers. Read More
BerriesCalifornia Strawberry Commission Awarded More than $1 M…
January 14, 2015
Strawberry farmers are dedicated to finding sustainable alternatives to fumigants such as methyl bromide. Read More
BerriesStrawberry Growers Get New Disease-Fighting Smartphone …
January 12, 2015
Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference attendees get first look at ‘MyIPM.’ Read More
BerriesWhat You Need To Know About Aronia, Goji, And Saskatoon…
January 2, 2015
Leading researchers and universities offer some advice and basic information about relatively unknown berry plants. Read More
BerriesGrowers Try Their Hand At Next Wave Of Berry Crops
January 2, 2015
Saskatoon, goji, and aronia berries can provide new options for growers looking to expand their berry offerings. Read More
Apples & PearsFour Highlights You May Have Missed At Great Lakes Expo
December 16, 2014
Record-setting crowd sat in on presentations featuring precision orchard management, mechanical berry harvesters, biocontrols, and more. Read More
BerriesSpotted Wing Drosophila Regional Workshops Held In New …
December 1, 2014
Management tips, early warning signs, and pest biology are among topics discussed at one-day events. Read More
BerriesSuspected Borer Could Be Big Bother To Florida Blueberr…
November 24, 2014
Producers warned to be on the lookout as scientists probe samples. Read More
BerriesPackaging Company’s Campaign To Benefit Future Organic …
November 19, 2014
Sambrailo Packaging of Watsonville, CA, has partnered with California Certified Organic Farmers and will donate a portion of the sales of clamshells made from plastic bottles. Read More
BerriesGeorgia Is The Top Blueberry State In The Nation
November 17, 2014
The Peach State experiences extreme growth in production of blueberries in the last 20 years. Read More
BerriesTop 10 Things Berry Growers Need To Do Before 2015
November 11, 2014
Preparation, management, and control can help you get your canes off to a great start in the next growing season. Read More
BerriesNew Berry Growers Are Innovative
November 11, 2014
In this electronic information age, these new, first-time berry growers are quick to locate berry growing information resources, including local and university Extension/research-developed production and marketing information for their area. Read More
BerriesOrganic Strawberry Research Gets $200,000 Boost From Wa…
November 7, 2014
Scientists from University of Florida and North Carolina A&T forge ahead with studies, seek more grower feedback. Read More