October 31, 2011

Specialty Crop Funds Awarded to Missouri to Further Enhance Industry

Department of Agriculture awards over $353,000 to Ag projects.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture today announced that 17 agricultural projects across Missouri have been selected to receive funding provided by USDA's Specialty Crop Block Grant Program to assist in the competitiveness of specialty crops in the state. The federal assistance totaling over $353,000 for Missouri projects is targeted to specialty crops such as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture, including floriculture and turf grass sod.

"The innovative specialty crop growers throughout Missouri are dedicated to education, good management practices and seeking new ways to increase market opportunities for Missouri farm families," said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler. "As specialty crops continue to grow in popularity among both producers and consumers, we are committed to connecting Missouri farmers with value-added opportunities and the resources necessary for them to succeed in meeting their customers' needs."

The following projects were awarded funding:

  • University of Missouri - The Cold Hardiness Evaluation of Redhaven Peach Floral Buds on Eleven New Rootstocks $7,402 - Dr. Chris Starbuck, (573) 882-9636, starbuckc@missouri.edu
  • Community Action Agency of St. Louis County - The Community Farm: Expanding Markets, Increasing Access: create an urban vegetable farm that demonstrates the viability of an innovative "tiered Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)" marketing strategy that includes education, food preparation classes and workshops on tiered-CSA management. $30,000 - Alicia Michaels, (314) 863-0015, info@caastl.org
  • University of Missouri - Elucidating the Role of Walnut Curculio (Conotrachelus Retentus) and Bacterial Isolates Associated With Black Walnut Kernel Necrosis: conduct research on the effects of black walnut curculio (Conotrachelus Retentus) and bacterial isolates associated with black walnut kernel necrosis. $15,095 - Dr. Michael Gold & Terrell Stamps, (573) 882-0193, stampsw@missouri.edu
  • Farmers' Market of the Ozarks - Increasing Nutrition and Consumption of Specialty Crop through the Farmers Market of the Ozarks Regional Marketing Campaign: expand the customer base of specialty crop farmers through a regional city market and increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables by educating the public on the nutritional value of locally available specialty crops, where to buy local specialty crops and how to select and prepare them. $28,209 - Matt O'Reilly, (417) 877-8855
  • University of Missouri - Organization and Hosting of the First International Elderberry Symposium: facilitate the first international elderberry symposium. The $30,000 - Andy Thomas, (417) 466-2148, ThomasAL@missouri.edu
  • Columbia Farmers' Market - Increasing Sales and Distribution of Specialty Crops through Columbia Farmers' Market: continue to grow markets and conduct an advertising campaign that will promote the sale and distribution of specialty crops by providing the local farmer and consumer a reliable, regulated marketplace for the direct exchange of high quality and safe food. $26,683 - Caroline Todd, (573) 823-6889, cfmdirector@socket.net
  • University of Missouri - Biology and Behavior of the Black Walnut Curculio: conduct research on the effects of black walnut curculio (Conotrachelus Retentus) to plant volatiles and sex pheromones to determine whether potential exists for the development of monitoring programs utilizing the volatiles as a tactic for pest management. $18,548 - Dr. Michael Gold & Terrell Stamps, (573) 882-0193, stampsw@missouri.edu
  • University of Missouri - 2012 Missouri Blueberry School and Workshops: provide a two day school that would include in-depth presentations on issues of interest to blueberry producers (both current and prospective), marketers and consumers. $15,294 - Patrick Byers, (417) 881-8909, byerspl@missouri.edu
  • Menorah Legacy Foundation - The Kansas City Beans & Greens Mobile Market Program: expand a mobile market campaign which makes fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables available and affordable for low-income persons living in urban "food deserts" without access to grocery stores or farmers' markets. $15,000 - Gayla Brockman, (816) 753-0606, gayla@menorahlegacy.org
  • River Hills Elderberry Producers - River Hills Elderberry Producers Market Enhancement and Continuing Grower Education: continue grower education and market enhancement through the investigation of distribution and supply chain options and development of a marketing plan, facilitation of a comprehensive elderberry workshop and farm tour and promotion of elderberries at applicable farm shows and conferences. $28,582 - Terry Durham, (573) 999-3034, info@elderberrylife.com
  • Missouri Wine and Grape Board - Consumer Behavior Research: identify barriers that impact the purchase and consumption of the wine and grapes. $30,000 - Danene Beedle & Teah Hopper, (573) 751-3374, missouri.wine@mda.mo.gov
  • University of Missouri - Chestnut Weevil Management: develop effective sustainable management of chestnut weevils for the continued growth of the Missouri chestnut industry. $20,380 - Dr. Michael Gold & Terrell Stamps, (573) 882-0193, stampsw@missouri.edu
  • Missouri Department of Agriculture - Grant Administration: perform pre-award and post-award activities to administer Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funding and ensure that the State Agency and sub-awardees abide by Federal and State requirements and regulations. $39,005
  • Lincoln University - Determining Maturity Groups for Edamame for Fresh Production in Missouri: conduct research on maturity groupings of Edamame to enable producers to better select cultivars that allow them to supply fresh Edamame to consumers for a longer period of time each year. $10,098 - Dr. Todd Higgins, (573) 681-6194, higginsT2@lincolnu.edu
  • Lincoln University - The Effect of Rapeseed Meal on Soybean Cyst Nematode Damage to Edamame: investigate the effectiveness of rapeseed meal in protecting Edamame from soybean cyst nematode (SCN) damage. $6,799 - Dr. Todd Higgins, (573) 681-6194, higginsT2@lincolnu.edu
  • Lincoln University - Sweet Corn Production in Living Mulch: determine the best agronomic and management practices to employ to successfully produce quality sweet corn grown in a living mulch. $6,069 - Dr. Todd Higgins, (573) 681-6194, higginsT2@lincolnu.edu
  • Lincoln University - High Tunnel Tomato Variety Trials: test the performance of heirloom tomato varieties and newly released hybrid tomato varieties in high tunnels. $25,868 - Dr. Sanjun Gu, (573) 681-5524, sanjun.gu@lincolnu.edu

For more information about financial assistance available to Missouri producers and other opportunities available through the Missouri Department of Agriculture, visit mda.mo.gov.