The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has received over $4 million to help support specialty crop research. The funding support comes from the Specialty Crop Multi-State Program (SCMP) from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). A total of 14 collaborative projects impacting 28 states have been awarded nearly $10 million through the program. The competitive funding is awarded to state departments of agriculture that partner with stakeholder organizations in two or more states.
“The specialty crop industry faces unique challenges, and with funding from the Specialty Crop Multi-State program, USDA provides resources for recipients to work across state lines to find innovative, research-based solutions that address problems at both the regional and national levels,” USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt said in a press release. “This year’s funded projects will address of a range of those challenges, from energy and water saving in vine plants, finding cost-effective solutions for heat tolerance and drought, to addressing food safety risks for produce.”
A project to better understand and improve nitrogen use efficiency in spinach production has been awarded $795,194. CDFA and other collaborators will also be working to develop a new tool to enhance pollinator habitat in blueberries with a $554,663 award. A project to enhance specialty crop seed germination, seeding vigor, and pest management using cold plasma technology also received financial support. CDFA received an award of $915,263 and will be working with in collaboration with four institutions, UC Davis, University of Minnesota, University of Maryland, and Cornell University.
A total of $878,971 has been awarded to a specialty crop research project evaluating climate resilience in vine plants. The project will include five study sites that span Arizona, California, Utah, and Washington. A project looking at the impact of smoke on grape juice and wine has received an award of $871,052. Incorporating partners in California, Oregon, and Washington, the project seeks to develop a novel treatment option to remove smoke impact compounds in grapes without adversely affecting quality.