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V&E receives grants from USDA program

Posted by | November 13, 2015

More than $1.7 million was awarded to Washington State University for specialty crop research including grapes, berries, potatoes, tree fruit, and Christmas trees, the Washington State Department of Agriculture announced last month.

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.

Sub-surface micro-irrigation in a vineyard
Sub-surface micro-irrigation in a vineyard

Two grants were awarded for WSU Viticulture and Enology projects.

Department of Crop and Soil Sciences professor Pete Jacoby leads the first grant project, titled Deep Sub-Surface Micro-Irrigation to Increase Water Use Efficiency in Vineyards. That grant is for $249,971.

The other, called Strengthening the Grapevine Supply Chain for Healthy Vineyards, is led by Naidu Rayapati from the Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser. The grant is for $247,878.

“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 other 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

• 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

• 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