Utah State University Extension was one of several recipients of a $280,050 Utah Department of Agriculture and Food Specialty Crop Grant awarded recently.
Of the grant money awarded statewide, USU and Extension received approximately $216,803, according to Brent Black, USU Extension fruit specialist.
Black said the specialty crop block grant is money that comes to Utah from the federal government. The amount that Utah receives is proportional to the size of the state’s specialty crop (fruits, vegetables, nursery and landscape crops) industry.
According to information in a Utah Department of Agriculture and Food news release, the selected projects demonstrated a measurable benefit for the specialty crop industry and are expected to assist more than just a single producer. Grant recipients were selected based on USDA requirements that projects enhance the competitiveness of other Utah specialty crop producers.
“Fruit growers can have conversations and connections with researchers about their priorities,” said Black. “This one-time funding will then allow researchers to get their information back to our growers.”
Black said the grant money will have a large impact on both USU Extension and Utah growers. It will be enough to get projects going, and then researchers can go after larger funding.
Some of the projects funded include expanding and improving weather stations from digital modems to other forms of communication, including wireless Internet using grower-provided, on-site service and line-of-sight radio communication between stations, evaluating high tunnel season-extension technology as a possible mechanism for plant survival, a survey to monitor 30 orchards to determine if the invasive Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is in Utah and improving cold-climate strawberry production to meet local demand.
Contact: Brent Black, (435) 797-2174, email@example.com
Writer: Julene Reese, USU Extension writer, (435) 797-0810, firstname.lastname@example.org