Cornell Specialty Crops Research Gets USDA Funding

Ten of Cornell University’s specialty crop research projects recently received USDA Specialty Crop Block Grants totalling more than $900,000. The projects range from improving crops, expanding the agriculture industry in the state to specifically targeting the wine and grape industry.


“Investing in research and development is crucial to growing our state’s agricultural sector and economy,” said  New York Gov. Andrew Como. “This funding will allow some of New York’s top researchers to identify new ways to improve areas like crop production and resiliency, ultimately helping to increase the market competitiveness of farmers across the state. I congratulate these award recipients and look forward to their valuable contributions to New York agriculture.”

The 2013 Specialty Crop Block Grant were awarded to these Cornell research projects:

  • Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics: $99,806 to increase the profitability of the New York onion industry via introduction of novel mild hybrids adapted to New York state;
  • Department of Horticulture: $99,594 to help improve nursery native tree production to increase profitability; $74,331 to evaluate grape and wine production practices in support of the emerging cold hardy “northern grapes” industry in New York;
  • Department of Entomology: $94,553 to help ensure the viability of the New York allium crop industry (onions, leeks, garlic, and chives) by meeting the research and outreach needs for controlling leek moth; $56,055 to help develop an insect, disease, and weed management program for New York organic apples;
  • Department of Plant Pathology and Plant Microbe Biology: $88,124 to expand identification, sampling and testing of Phytophthora diseases, which threaten nursery crops and home landscapes; $79,785 to develop methods to eliminate the crown gall pathogen from grapevine propagation material to strengthen New York’s viticulture and nursery industry; $47,260 to enhance potato seed production for New York state farmers by establishing a hydroponic production system;
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Essex County: $93,460 to increase the sales of specialty crops in northern New York through direct connections with consumers and new wholesale markets; and
  • CCE of Suffolk County: $65,168 to help implement an area-wide insect mating disruption participatory program in Long Island tree fruit orchards.

The New York state office of the American Farmland Trust received $99,427 in funding to help expand competitiveness for specialty crop producers at The State University of New York colleges.