Announcements

Job offersmore »

Tweeting Growers

Top 5 - yesterday

Top 5 - last week

Top 5 - last month

Exchange ratesmore »




US (FL): $3 million grant helps researchers look for new growing locations

University of Florida researchers are sounding a warning bell that fresh produce may be hard to come by in the future. Scientists with the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences cite changes in our climate, loss of fresh water and competition for resources as major threats in farmers’ ability to increase production of fruits and vegetables.

With a new $3 million federal grant, Senthold Asseng, a UF/IFAS professor of agricultural and biological engineering, and scientist David Gustafson, of the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) Research Foundation, will lead a four-year research project to find more places to grow produce.

The grant, announced July 19, comes from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Through this type of collaborative research, we discover the scientific answers that help solve world hunger problems,” said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “Knowing where and how to grow crops goes a long way to feeding as many people as possible while conserving our environment.”

To try to deal with the production conundrum, Asseng, Gustafson and a team of leading scientists from the International Food Policy Research Institute, University of Arkansas, University of Illinois, Washington State University and the World Agricultural Economic and Environmental Services will use crop, environmental, economic and climate modeling to predict current and future impacts on yield. They also will study the quality of selected fruit and vegetable crops in states where they are currently grown and identify future locations that will allow for continued or potentially increased production.

Additionally, the researchers will investigate places that have sufficient water to grow fruits and vegetables, ultimately utilizing climate data to see where such produce can be grown in the future.

“The project will explore if other regions like the Southeast, including Florida, or the Pacific Northwest, could produce some of the fruits and vegetables that are getting harder to produce in California,” Asseng said. The difficulty arises from less water and an overall warming climate, he said.

“The potential for improving the overall sustainability and environmental profile of handling, storing, packaging and market access activities will be studied,” Asseng said.

The team of researchers involved in this project will combine economic and crop models to determine current and future prices and production costs of crops such as carrots, green beans, oranges, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, sweet corn and tomatoes. Previous research in this area has focused on grain crops such as wheat, corn, rice and soybeans, which are generally grown without irrigation.

“Beginning in 2014, the ILSI Research Foundation identified the importance of improving the sustainability of fruit and vegetable supply chains, from producers all the way to retailers and consumers,” Gustafson said. “Recognizing our commitment to improving nutrition and health through cross-disciplinary research, we are very pleased the U.S. Department of Agriculture has now affirmed the importance of this critical issue by awarding this new grant.”

Source: University of Florida

Publication date: 7/21/2017

 


 

Other news in this sector:

8/18/2017 Which wavelengths of light are the most effective in photosynthesis?
8/17/2017 How to light your vining crops
8/17/2017 UK: Vertical farming a breeding ground for innovation
8/17/2017 Cravo shares results of Mexcian trials
8/16/2017 Response of hot pepper yield to irrigation water salinity
8/14/2017 Ireland: €24 million available under European Innovation Partnerships Initiative
8/11/2017 These fibre pads claim to store and release ethylene on demand
8/11/2017 Chinese astronauts use the WET Sensor to help grow lettuce in space
8/11/2017 Horticulture NZ responds to freshwater discussion: “Let’s not do this”
8/10/2017 "Taxing water an issue for us all"
8/10/2017 USDA no longer speaks about "Climate Change"
8/10/2017 Combining downward and upward lighting improves plant growth
8/9/2017 Dr. Kubota's video lectures on photoperiod and CO2 now available at Urban Ag News
8/9/2017 LED Grow Book second edition now available
8/9/2017 UK: Survey to understand poor tomato pollination by native bumblebees
8/7/2017 NatureSweet to boost crop yields with new camera technology
8/7/2017 LumiGrow releases LED Growers’ Guide for Vine Crops
7/21/2017 Photosynthetic responses of leafy veg to irradiance and CO2 concentration
7/21/2017 Production potential generates interest in Dutoli
7/21/2017 Cucumbers in space provide insights on root growth