RODALE INSTITUTE AWARDED THREE PA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE GRANTS
Rodale Institute awarded nearly $200,000 to research projects that benefit soil health and organic farmers
Rodale Institute was awarded three PA Department of Agriculture grants totaling nearly $200,000 for projects that will help organic farmers manage pests, protect crops from diseases, and increase yields while supporting soil health.
“In large part, agriculture is about science, and having the latest and best science is why research is so important,” said Secretary Redding. “For agricultural industries to thrive in the future, we need to have the benefit of the knowledge these projects offer us. That is why supporting projects like these is such a critically important investment for our economy.”
Vegetable Systems Trial
Researcher: Dr. Andrew Smith, Director – Vegetable Systems Trial
Award Amount: $74,000
Project Summary: In 2016, the Rodale Institute initiated the Vegetable Systems Trial (VST), a long-term side-by-side comparison of biologically-based organic and chemically-based conventional vegetable production systems. The goal for this project is to develop economically viable vegetable production systems which improve soil, plant, human and planetary health through the application of regenerative organic management techniques. The duration of this project is expected to go well beyond 20 years with the intention of monitoring soil health, nutritive quality, environmental impact, agroecosystem resilience, and the economics of vegetable production over time while assessing how management practices directly or indirectly affect human health. Grant funding will support our comprehensive soil health analysis; environmental health assessment; and measure agroecosystem resilience.
Microbial Seed Treatment For Protection Against Soil-Borne Plant Pathogens
Researcher: Rick Carr, Compost Production Specialist
Award Amount: $75,000
Project Summary: This project seeks to develop a biologically-based seed treatment for controlling soil-borne plant pathogens that would benefit greenhouse and direct seeding operations. Microbes from composted substrates will be concentrated, freeze-dried into a fine powder and then applied to the surface of seeds using standard seed treatment application technologies. This study presents a novel approach for deploying microbes in agriculture and will provide an additional tool in the disease management toolbox.
Verification of Parasitism and Bacterial Wilt in Striped Cucumber Beetles Using Molecular Analyses
Researcher: Dr. Gladis Zinati, Associate Research Scientist
Award Amount: $45,000
Project Summary: The goal of this grant proposal is track bacterial wilt progression and parasitism in cucumber beetles during the growing season using molecular techniques. The specific objectives of this project are to 1) determine whether cucumber beetles and parasitoids collected over three different dates are carriers of the E. tracheiphila pathogen, and 2) determine percent parasitism of collected striped cucumber beetles by the tachinid fly and braconid wasp in various management systems at three different dates in 2016.