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Floral, nursery research funds in farm bill

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved nearly $3.3 million to fund critical floral and nursery industry research projects in 2013 through the 2008 farm bill pest and disease program. This includes several projects of direct benefit to greenhouse and nursery growers, according to a news release from the Society of American Florists.

One project of particular importance to the greenhouse and nursery industry, awarded the full $159,000 request, would fund the development of computer software tools making it easier for greenhouses and nurseries to participate in certification programs.

The new project would create an array of software-based “best management practices” that greenhouse or nursery growers could use to address their specific product and shipping situations. Once the grower creates an overall plan to cover the critical control points and it is approved by the certifying government agency, the grower could get its products out the door quickly without waiting for individual inspections, the association stated.

Other projects approved under the USDA announcementinclude:

• $385,680 to a project focusing on Impatiens Downy Mildew, a collaborative effort including USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, Michigan State University, Cornell University, North Carolina State University and the University of Florida.

• $143,000 to a project including ARS and international researchers, to study Chrysanthemum White Rust.

• $245,483 to continue the study of techniques for the control of several exotic whitefly species, to the University of Florida and cooperators including the Florida Department of Agriculture.

• $453,132 to various National Clean Plant Network-associated projects, to develop harmonized national certification standards, evaluate the economic impact of the program, and to inform growers of their ability to access proven pest- and disease-free stock.