Nov 1, 2020
Cornell to get grant for biological crop protection research for potatoes

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball announced Oct. 30 that more than $1.2 million in funding will support nine advanced research, education and marketing projects to help specialty crop farms across New York State.

The grants were secured through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Specialty Crop Block Grant program.

New York’s specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, maple syrup and honey and are among the state’s most valuable agricultural products. Since the USDA began the program in 2006, New York has been awarded $15.1 million for 148 specialty crop projects across the state.

The Specialty Crop Block Grant program is administered through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, in coordination with the New York Farm Viability Institute (NYFVI). NYFVI recommended $655,346 be provided to Cornell University for seven grower research and education projects that will focus on:

  • Biological control for managing the most serious pests of potato in conventional and organic production systems
  • Researching pre-harvest apple finish disorders such as lenticel breakdown, bitter pit, and apple scarf in order to mitigate grower losses and maintain the quality of New York apples
  • Developing recommendations for proper use of apple rootstocks which help increase apple production for New York State apple growers
  • Advancing downy mildew resistance for New York grape growers
  • Promoting pollinators in New York berry crops in the era of spotted-wing drosophila
  • Planning for the future pests by updating integrated pest management resources for nursery and Christmas tree producers
  • Advancing thrips management in onion using a new sampling plan and digital application

Cornell University was also awarded $210,000 for research regarding best labor management practices and labor-saving technologies on specialty crop farms.

In addition, over $266,000 from the Specialty Crop Block Grant program will also support the marketing and promotion of New York’s specialty crops.

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P.O. Box 128
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