October 25, 2010
The SCRI, administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), was established in the 2008 Farm Bill to support the specialty crop industry through research and extension activities. Specialty crops are defined as “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.”
The $46 million in FY 2010 funding will go mainly to land grant universities and USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) stations for projects ranging from studying lettuce genetics to developing LED lighting technology for specialty crops. Several projects deal with food safety issues, including the processing of fresh-cut leafy greens, and native pollinators.
A quick review of the awards show eight in pest and disease management, six related to production, four related to food safety, three related to genomics, two each for pollinators, precision agriculture, and breeding, and single awards focused on high tunnels, processing, storage, and water management.
“[SCRI] is going to be a very important tool in our toolkit around food safety,” said Merrigan. “This program is going to be front and center in our efforts.”
For the full list of funded SCRI projects and descriptions dating back to 2009, click here.