Enviro-weather is a comprehensive network of weather stations strategically located throughout the state. The network and its associated programs help Michigan producers make pest, plant production and natural resources management decisions. Enviro-weather data are shared with other weather groups across the region and are also used in college and university classrooms to teach students about weather, agriculture, integrated pest management and use of weather information to manage risk.
Since Enviro-weather’s inception in 2006, data requests and visitor hits have grown from fewer than 500 per day to an average of 20,930 per day during the peak season.
Project GREEEN funds supported many Enviro-weather staff accomplishments, including:
- Participating in conferences, workshops, meetings and symposiums across the state, providing presentations and updates, presenting posters and distributing materials to educate users about the availability and benefits of Enviro-weather.
- Partnering with nine major agricultural commodity and public policy groups and commissions to deliver sustainable weather-based information to the public.
MSU Land Management Office
The MSU Land Management Office invests Project GREEEN funds in key areas that help keep MSU AgBioResearch centers operating at full capacity. Most often, farm managers use Project GREEEN infrastructure dollars to fund new equipment and skilled labor positions. In 2014-15, Project GREEEN dollars bridged operating budget gaps at three of the 14 MSU AgBioResearch plant-based research centers, enabling the purchase and repair of equipment as well as the maintenance of several buildings.
Numerous research center projects also benefited from Project GREEEN dollars, including:
- Potato variety testing to identify new commercial lines.
- Colorado potato beetle management recommendations.
- Protecting long-term soil quality.
- Evaluation of advanced potato germplasm for commercial traits.
- Diploid potato breeding.
The Plant Biotechnology Research and Outreach Center
The MSU Plant Biotechnology Research and Outreach Center (PBROC) offers research support to specialty crop producers in Michigan and outreach programs that deal with molecular breeding and the environmental biosafety of genetically engineered crops.
With funds from Project GREEEN, PBROC scientists were able to:
- Serve Michigan producers by performing tissue culture, micropropagation and transformation work on blueberries, apples, sweet cherries, cherry rootstocks and asparagus.
- Develop transformation protocols for recalcitrant specialty and orphan crops.
- Provide biotechnology teaching and demonstration opportunities to MSU students.
- Construct genetic linkage maps of specialty and orphan crops.
- Provide short- and long-term training on environmental biosafety of transgenic crops, as well as training on transformation and marker-assisted breeding.
Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division uses Project GREEEN funds to support the division’s export manager and a plant pest specialist. Thanks to this funding, these professionals were able to survey stone fruit nursery stock producers in an effort to resolve plum pox virus trade issues, particularly the export of Prunus sp. nursery stock to Canada.
The plant pest specialist and export manager trained industry participants and maintained phytosanitary certification protocols for fresh blueberry fruit exported to Canada. Twelve growers were enrolled in the Blueberry Certification Program in 2014.
With support from Project GREEEN, these two MDARD professionals were also able to:
- For the 13th consecutive year, cooperate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the U.S. Apple Committee and MSU Extension to implement an apple certification program in accord with Mexico’s phytosanitary requirements.
- Review phytosanitary requirements with primary trading partners, resulting in the continuation of detection surveys for Karnal bunt, soybean cyst nematode, potato cyst nematode and golden nematode.
- Update the list of pesticides approved for use in regulatory treatments for gypsy moth on spruce, fir and Douglas-fir nursery stock and Christmas trees, assuring that growers who ship out of state are in compliance with the federal gypsy moth quarantine.
- Provide regular updates to inspection staff members about gypsy moth development and availability of information through the MSU Enviro-weather website.
The MSU Product Center Food-Ag-Bio
A 2012 MSU Product Center report showed that Michigan’s food and agriculture system contributed more than $101 billion to the state’s economy, a number that continues to grow. With that in mind, professionals trained in working with entrepreneurs work with new and growing food and agriculture businesses to help them reach their full potential. Understanding the value of food and agriculture to Michigan’s economy is key to the success of the services that these professionals provide.
The center is an excellent example of how entrepreneurs can work with university professionals to identify markets, develop new products and make critical decisions from product concept to launch. Since its inception, the MSU Product Center has relied on Project GREEEN funds to link Michigan entrepreneurs with support services such as business, marketing, technical and scientific resources, so its specialists can continue to help them create and produce high-value, consumer-responsive products and businesses.
More from 2015 Project GREEEN Legislative Summary
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