U.S.D.A. awards $28 million for specialty crop research

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded more than $28 million in research and extension grants to 17 institutions as part of the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (S.C.R.I.). The funds will be used to help solve critical specialty crop agriculture issues, address priorities and solve problems through multifunctional research and extension.

The S.C.R.I. was established as part of the 2008 farm bill.

The largest grant, $6,010,232, was awarded to Carnegie Melon University for research on comprehensive automation for specialty crops.

Other projects and their grants include:

• $1,667,679 to Colorado State University for risk assessment of sampling methods for evaluating the microbial safety of fresh produce;

• $1,113,214 to The Ohio State University for social networking, market and commercialization infrastructure for Midwestern fruit and vegetable crops in local food systems; and

• $1,000,000 to The Pennsylvania State University for innovative technologies for thinning of fruit.

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