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MSU Nets Three Grants for Specialty Crop Research
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“These projects, and the grants from the USDA, move us forward in efforts to advance agriculture and economic development in a sustainable way.”


Source: Michigan State University, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Contact: Val Osowski at osowskiv@msu.edu 

MSU Nets Three Grants, Totaling More than $5 Million for Specialty Crop Research


Three researchers from Michigan State University landed federal grants totaling more than $5 million, funds that will be used to enhance research designed to boost specialty crop production in the United States.

The grants are part of 29 awards, totaling $46 million, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Institutions in 19 states are receiving the grants as part of the Specialty Crop Research Initiative that will be used to develop and share science-based tools to address the needs of America’s specialty crop industry.

The three MSU researchers and their projects include:

Matthew Grieshop, assistant professor of entomology, will use $2.5 million for the development of resource-efficient and ecologically sustainable production systems for apple and cherry producers.

Catherine Lindell, associate professor of zoology, will use a $2 million grant to study ways to limit bird damage to fruit crops.

Ryan Warner, associate professor of horticulture, will use a $1.6 million grant to study genomics-based approaches for improving petunia production efficiency and performance.

“Our goal, as researchers, is to be responsive to new trends that not only affect growers, but also that help consumers end up with a better product,” said Doug Buhler, interim dean for MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “These projects, and the grants from the USDA, move us forward in efforts to advance agriculture and economic development in a sustainable way.”

Overall, the initiative will focus on improving crop characteristics through plant breeding, genetics and genomics; address threats from pests and diseases; improve production efficiency, productivity and profitability; develop new innovations and technologies; and develop methods to improve food safety.

“Over the last 60 years, agriculture, including horticulture, has become increasingly reliant on science and technology to maintain profitable production,” said Kathleen Merrigan, Department of Agriculture deputy secretary. “These projects will help provide specialty crop producers with the information and tools they need to successfully grow, process and market safe and high-quality products, supporting jobs and opportunities for Americans working in specialty crops.”

A full list of SCRI projects can be found at here.

Grieshop is affiliated with MSU AgBioResearch. Warner is affiliated with MSU AgBioResearch and MSU Extension.