Apr 25, 2008
Project GREEEN Selects Funding Recipients For 2008Source: MSU

A diverse array of more than 100 plant agriculture research projects targeting the industry’s most pressing needs will share almost $2.5 million in grant funding from Project GREEEN for fiscal year 2008.

Project GREEEN (Generating Research and Extension to meet Economic and Environmental Needs) is Michigan’s plant agriculture initiative at Michigan State University (MSU). It’s a joint effort between plant based commodities and businesses together with the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station, MSU Extension and the Michigan Department of Agriculture to advance the state’s economy through its plant-based agriculture, according to an MSU press release.

The vision behind Project GREEEN is to respond to industry needs, ensure and improve food safety and preserve and protect the quality of the environment by funding research and educational projects that stand to make real differences.

In total, 92 new project proposals requesting about $2.5 million were received for consideration in this year’s selection process. In addition, 46 continuation proposals seeking more than $1 million in available funds were received for projects that started in 2006 or 2007, according to MSU.

Despite economic challenges on the state and national levels, said Doug Buhler, coordinator of Project GREEEN and associate director of the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station, there’s significant growth and development taking place in plant agriculture.

“Project GREEEN is uniquely positioned to stay at the forefront of plant agricultural research and Extension,” he added. “We are able to continue funding important advances in crop production and pest management strategies while also addressing emerging markets such as organic production and the bio-economy.”

Proposals were evaluated based on their relationship to the Project GREEEN mission and Michigan’s plant agriculture priorities, as well as scientific soundness and appropriateness of methodology and multidisciplinary linkages, among other criteria.

All proposals are reviewed by a diverse panel of industry, government and university experts.

Projects were funded in the following categories: basic research, applied research and Extension/education/demonstration. New projects were funded “across the spectrum” of the local industry, with topics ranging from estimating the carbon footprint of Michigan apple and cherry orchards to translating the national pesticide applicator manual into Spanish and designing farm financial record systems.

According to Don Koivisto, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Michigan State University, these grants allow Michigan’s $64 billion agribusiness sector to continue thriving. “[It] is essential to the diversification of the state’s economy,” stated Koivisto in the press release.

“It’s this type of collaboration between private industries, government and universities that provides a vital link addressing the changing needs and challenges of Michigan’s agriculture industry,” he said.

For a complete list of 2008 newly funded and continuing Project GREEEN research projects and more information about MSU’s plant agriculture initiative, visit http://www.greeen.msu.edu/.

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