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Michigan apple industry applauds $2.5 million apple research grant

Contact: Denise Donohue
(800) 456-2753

DeWitt, Mich. – The Michigan Apple Committee (MAC) applauds a multi-state research team, headed by Dr. Matthew Grieshop, assistant professor of entomology at Michigan State University (MSU), for its work to receive a multi-year $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA).  The grant is part of the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, or SCRI, in the Specialty Crops subtitle of the Farm Bill.

“This multi-state project has the potential to revolutionize how fruit inputs are delivered,” said Denise Donohue, Executive Director of the Michigan Apple Committee.  “It takes a concept now being tested at a single orchard in New York State, so far as we know, and applies the concepts to commercial apple production in multiple states.”

The grant seeks to develop efficient and sustainable production systems for apple and cherry producers.  If successful, the project will bring a comprehensive approach to fruit production by reducing energy inputs, chemical exposure, water use and labor. 

These SCRI dollars will fund research on water-based delivery of crop inputs; essentially using PVC pipe and spray nozzles to deliver materials with uses ranging from insect control to frost protection directly to the foliage rather than spraying by tractor.  Expected benefits include reducing the time it takes to spray an orchard, applying multiple inputs on the same day, decreasing human exposure to chemicals and allowing applications any time of day or night, when environmental conditions are most suitable. 

The team includes entomologists, plant physiologists, engineers, horticulturalists and soil scientist at MSU, Cornell University and Washington State University

This MSU grant was one of 29 awards, totaling $46 million from the USDA-NIFA, part of SCRI that will be used to develop and share science-based tools to address the needs of America’s specialty crop industry. 

Michigan Apple Committee is a grower-funded nonprofit organization devoted to promotion, education and research activities to distinguish the Michigan apple and encourage its consumption in Michigan and around the world.  For more information, visit MichiganApples.com.