Research

Current Projects

Adapting and Expanding High Tunnel Organic Vegetable Production for the Southeast

Funded by USDA OREI-NIFA

A panel of producers from the Southeast with organic high tunnel production experience identified and prioritized the critical research needs addressed in this project. These research needs were identified through semi-structured interviews and reviewed at a plenary meeting of project partners and stakeholders. The overall goal of this project is to develop a strategic plan for research and outreach that addresses the full range of needs identified by the producer panel.

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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 used to control soil-borne pathogens and is allowed for use in organic production systems. The overall goal of this project is to characterize what happens in the soil during ASD and facilitate its use at a commercial scale.

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
How to accomplish ASD:
  1. Provide carbon source to soil
  2. Saturate soil with water
  3. Cover the soil with plastic to create anaerobic conditions in the soil
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Cover Crop Diversity through Evaluation and Increase from Breeder Stocks and Germplasm Repositories

Funded by Southern SARE

This project sought to select specific cover crop cultivars for a breeding program. The cultivars were selected from cover crop species that performed best in our previous years of cover crop research. Most of these cultivars were developed as cash crops rather than for use as a cover crop. The desired growth and flowering characteristics for use as cover crops differ from those of cash crops. Selecting for those characteristics was the primary objective of the project.

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The Greening of Strawberry Plasticulture

Funded by FDACS

This project addressed the 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. The objective of this research was to use a living mulch and microsprinklers to reduce the amount of irrigation used during bare-root strawberry transplant establishment without compromising the success of the strawberry crop.

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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 high tunnel systems that address nutrient management, crop rotations, pest and disease management, and production economics to promote the growth and expansion of organic vegetable production in the Southeast.

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Southern Cover Crops Council (SCCC)

Initially Funded by Southern SARE

The SCCC grew out of a planning project funded by a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) Planning Grant.

Mission: 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.

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Support to Agricultural Research and Development (SARD) Program in Haiti

Funded by USAID

The overall goal of this USAID-funded program is to help transform and modernize Haiti’s agriculture sector in a target region that is 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.

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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.

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