CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS
ADAPTING AND EXPANDING HIGH TUNNEL ORGANIC VEGETABLE PRODUCTION FOR THE SOUTHEAST
FUNDED BY USDA OREI-NIFA
We worked with a panel of organic producers experienced in high tunnel production to identify and prioritize the critical research needs addressed in this project through semi-structured interviews, which were reviewed in a plenary meeting of project partners and stakeholders, and prioritized in a follow-up survey with producers. The overall goal of this project is to establish a strategic plan for research and outreach to address the full range of needs identified, beyond what we can address in this project.
ANAEROBIC SOIL DISINFESTATION (ASD)
FUNDED BY USDA-ARS
Anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD) is a chemical-free alternative to methyl bromide and other chemical soil fumigants. Additionally, ASD is allowed for use in organic production systems. Our role on the project is to provide effective Extension/outreach and industry feedback about the utility of ASD in Florida agricultural production and the direction of the biological research.
Potential ASD benefits:
- nematode control
- provides nutrients
- soil-borne disease control
- complies with National Organic Standards
- reduced reliance on chemical fumigation
Potential ASD issues:
- increased production cost
- nutrient leaching
- additional labor needed
- greenhouse gas emissions
- increased water use
- lack of availability of ASD materials
- timing of the application
Key ASD steps:
- Provide carbon source to soil
- Saturate soil with water
- Cover the soil with plastic to create anaerobic conditions in the soil
COVER CROP DIVERSITY THROUGH EVALUATION AND INCREASE FROM BREEDER STOCKS AND GERMPLASM REPOSITORIES
FUNDED BY SOUTHERN SARE
This is a joint project with Dr. Carlene Chase and Dr. Patricio Munoz in the Horticultural Sciences Department. It builds on previous work with cover crops and the objective is to select specific cultivars from the species that have performed best as cover crops in previous years for breeding. Few, if any, of the cultivars of these species were developed as cover crops, but rather as cash crops. The desired growth and flowering characteristics for use as cover crops differ from those of cash crops. Selecting for those characteristics is the primary objective of this project. My responsibilities on this grant are primarily to organize grower assessments and field days.
THE GREENING OF STRAWBERRY PLASTICULTURE
FUNDED BY FDACS
Research and extension activities address the unsustainable practice of using an extended period of overhead irrigation to limit heat stress during the establishment of bare-root strawberry transplants on black plastic mulch.
PARTNERSHIP TO EXPLORE INTEGRATED SYSTEMS FOR SUSTAINABLE HIGH TUNNEL ORGANIC VEGETABLE PRODUCTION IN THE SOUTHEAST REGION
FUNDED BY USDA OREI-NIFA
Farmer-driven organic high tunnel research in the Southeast lags behind research for cooler climates. The objective of the project is to develop integrated high tunnel systems to promote the growth and expansion of organic vegetable production in the Southeast.
SOUTHERN COVER CROPS COUNCIL (SCCC)
INITIALLY FUNDED BY SOUTHERN SARE
The SCCC grew out of a planning process funded by a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) Planning Grant.
- The mission of the SCCC is to facilitate and enhance communication and collaboration among producers, extension, researchers, and other agricultural professionals, and transfer information and technology to promote the successful adoption and integration of cover crops into southern agriculture systems.
SUPPORT TO AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT (SARD) PROGRAM IN HAITI
FUNDED BY USAID
High population growth rates, degraded environmental resources, recent natural disasters and limited institutional involvement in agricultural research and extension are all formidable challenges to food production and security in Haiti. Investment and support of the public institutions, private organizations and businesses that serve and represent Haiti’s diverse agricultural sector is essential to jumpstart economic recovery and to increase economic and food security in the nation.
The overall goal of this USAID-funded program is to help transform and modernize Haiti’s agriculture sector in a target region that a main food production area in Haiti. Our project addresses immediate short-term needs through applied research and training activities. These activities build on a previous successful USAID-funded agricultural development project in Haiti (WINNER). The current project seeks to further refine the technologies and practices developed in WINNER and to extend these and other agricultural innovations to a larger number of producers, focusing on key interventions that have shown positive outcomes for agricultural productivity and food security. Over the intermediate term, many of our proposed activities and interventions are designed to create a stronger and more resilient agricultural sector.
SUSTAINABLE ORGANIC STRAWBERRY (SOS) CROPPING SYSTEMS FOR THE SOUTHEAST
FUNDED BY USDA OREI-NIFA
The long-term goal of the project is to expand organic strawberry production in the Southeast by developing organic strawberry cropping systems that are more environmentally and economically sustainable and resilient to weed, pest, and disease pressure.