N. America

American Trade Group Awarded Research Grant

The funding is part of a $36.5-million provision in the Farm Bill for research to support the country’s specialty crop farmers.

usda2
Aug. 10, 2016
By Wendy Logan
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The Amer­i­can Olive Oil Pro­duc­ers Asso­ci­a­tion (AOOPA) announced that it is the recip­i­ent of a $50,000 U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture grant, one of 19 fed­eral grants totalling $36.5 mil­lion that will go to grow­ers of fruits, veg­eta­bles, tree nuts, and flori­cul­ture for research to sup­port the country’s spe­cialty crop farm­ers.

The fund­ing is part of the Farm Bill, adopted in 2014 by the USDA National Insti­tute of Food and Agri­cul­ture (NIFA) Spe­cialty Crop Research Ini­tia­tive (SCRI).

The SCRI was devised to develop and dis­sem­i­nate sci­ence-based tools that address the unique issues faced by farm­ers who grow lesser-known crops. Accord­ing to a state­ment released by the agency, the grants are designed to ensure crop diver­sity and food safety in farms of all sizes, whether con­ven­tional or organic.

America’s spe­cialty crop farm­ers face many chal­lenges rang­ing from a chang­ing cli­mate to increas­ing pro­duc­tion costs,” noted Sec­re­tary of Agri­cul­ture Tom Vil­sack.

Invest­ing in cut­ting edge research helps uncover solu­tions to keep oper­a­tions viable. The uni­ver­si­ties, state depart­ments of agri­cul­ture and trade asso­ci­a­tions that part­ner with USDA address chal­lenges at the national and local lev­els to help sus­tain all parts of America’s food and agri­cul­ture sys­tem.”

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From the study of plant genet­ics and the improve­ment of crop char­ac­ter­is­tics to iden­ti­fy­ing pests and dis­eases and improv­ing pro­duc­tion and prof­itabil­ity, the grants seek to help farm­ers through inno­va­tion and tech­nol­ogy.

A state­ment by AOOPA said the grant will allow it to bring together key indus­try stake­hold­ers and lead­ing olive oil researchers from across the coun­try to iden­tify and pri­or­i­tize the research needs of the Amer­i­can olive oil indus­try; deter­mine the most effec­tive ways to gather and share cur­rent research with the spe­cialty crop sec­tor, state asso­ci­a­tions, exten­sion pro­fes­sion­als, and grow­ers; and develop a plan for ongo­ing coop­er­a­tive efforts and future SCRI grants.”

Olive experts from the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Davis, Texas A&M Uni­ver­sity, the Uni­ver­sity of Geor­gia, and the Uni­ver­sity of Florida are expected to par­tic­i­pate in the project.


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