Project GREEEN Announces $2 Million in New Plant Agriculture Research Grants

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Project GREEEN has awarded over $2 million in plant agriculture research grants. (view larger image)

MSU researchers have been awarded more than $2 million for research and outreach projects to continue growing Michigan’s $71.3 billion agri-food and agri-energy industries.

Eighty-eight plant agriculture research projects will receive $2.08 million in grant funding from Project GREEEN (Generating Research and Extension to meet Economic and Environmental Needs), Michigan’s plant agriculture initiative at MSU, for fiscal year 2009.

Doug Buhler, MAES associate director and Project GREEEN coordinator, said this year’s cycle was the most competitive in GREEEN’s 12 years of funding projects and programs to meet plant agriculture industry challenges.

“Our review panels worked harder than ever to make sure every dollar of Project GREEEN money is well-spent,” Buhler said. “So though our funding acceptance rate was at a historic low of 40 percent, I am confident that we have a historically high-quality pool of projects.”

Project GREEEN is a cooperative effort between plant-based commodities and businesses together with the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station, MSU Extension and the Michigan Department of Agriculture to advance Michigan’s economy through its plant-based agriculture.

“These grants provide Michigan’s budding agribusiness entrepreneurs and seasoned professionals opportunities to build upon the growth trend in the state’s second largest economic driver,” said Don Koivisto, Michigan Department of Agriculture director. “It’s this type of teamwork between business, government and universities that will be critical to diversifying Michigan’s economy while addressing the needs and challenges of the modern agriculture industry.”

A total of 101 new project proposals requesting more than $3 million were received for consideration in this year’s selection process. Fifty-two continuation proposals seeking $1.2 million were received for projects begun in 2007 or 2008.

New projects were funded across the spectrum of Michigan’s plant agriculture industries, on topics ranging from a comprehensive fruitworm management program for Michigan blueberries and optimal storage of Honeycrisp apples to developing sustainable water management guidelines for Fraser fir Christmas trees to demonstrating how to improve Michigan wine quality and developing business plans for hoop houses.

“GREEEN is uniquely positioned to stay at the forefront of plant agricultural research and Extension by surveying the industry about its challenges and identifying projects that will address them,” Buhler said. “The research and outreach projects selected for Project GREEEN funding address industry-identified priorities and have met the rigors of scientific peer review.”

A complete listing of 2009 newly funded and continuing Project GREEEN research and Extension projects is available online.

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