Research for specialty crops boosted by $1.7 million

4899674571_053eda28fa_oPULLMAN, Wash. – More than $1.7 million was awarded to Washington State University for specialty crop research including berries, potatoes, grapes, tree fruit, onions, carrots and Christmas trees, the Washington State Department of Agriculture announced today.

WSU received grants for 10 of the 24 projects funded through the 2015 U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. The total award for the state was $4.1 million.

“This program, which is made possible by funding through the federal farm bill, is absolutely essential for WSU to support the specialty crop industries for which Washington is a leading producer,” said Jim Moyer, associate dean of research in the WSU College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences.

Washington ranks first in the nation for the production of apples, raspberries and pears and second for grapes, onions, carrots and potatoes.

The WSU projects, lead investigators and award amounts include:

  • Pre-Plant Management Techniques for Nematodes and Soilborne Raspberry Diseases; Lisa Wasko DeVetter, WSU NWREC, Mount Vernon; $141,274
  • Improved Disease Control Strategies of Potato Powdery Scab; Kiwamu Tanaka, Department of Plant Pathology, Pullman; $236,127
  • Strengthening the Grapevine Supply Chain for Healthy Vineyards; Naidu Rayapati WSU IAREC, Prosser; $247,878
  • Identification, Distribution and Management of Needle Cast Diseases on Noble Fir; Gary Chastagner, Puyallup Research and Extension Center; $104,624
  • Cosmic Crisp: Training System and Orchard Management; Stefano Mussachi, Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center, Wenatchee; $249,191
  • Deep Sub-Surface Micro-Irrigation to Increase Water Use Efficiency in Vineyards; Pete Jacoby, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Pullman; $249,971
  • Evaluations of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi of Onions and Carrot; Lindsey du Toit, WSU NWREC, Mount Vernon; $211,099
  • Physiological Responses of Apple under Photoselective Hail Netting; Lee Kalcsits, Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center, Wenatchee; $248,608
  • Developing Value-Added Products from Washington Grown Red Raspberries; Shyam Sablani, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Pullman;  $91,878
  • Sliced Pears: A Novel Avenue for Pear Consumption in the U.S.; Amit Dhingra, Department of Horticulture, Pullman; $204,466.

Summaries of the 2015 projects can be found at