Project Number: 8080-21000-029-013-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Sep 1, 2018
End Date: Aug 31, 2022
The objectives of this agreement are to develop integrated research and technology support infrastructure for small, rural farms in West Virginia and across the Appalachian region. The USDA-ARS, Appalachian Fruit Research Station (AFRS) develops new technologies and fruit varieties that could help improve rural farm profitability through the development of high value niche markets and reduced production costs. The USDA-ARS-AFRS and the West Virginia Military Authority (WVMA) will carry out shared research and education/outreach efforts to support the utilization of new technologies and plant varieties by rural West Virginia growers. The long-term objectives are to promote economic development, increase access to fresh fruits within impoverished areas in Appalachia, and strengthen U.S. agriculture by better leveraging available land and water resources which are currently underutilized.
We will: 1) perform field trials of USDA-ARS pear, peach, nectarine, plum, and kiwi germplasm within WVMA affiliated orchard sites; 2) carry out research on fruit tree production on reclaimed mine sites including: rootstock performance, soil amendments, pest and disease detection/management, and other horticultural questions; and 3) support WVMA economic development goals by participating in outreach and education events with veterans, growers, and students. To these ends, the funding will support 40% of the salary and benefits of a shared Research Horticulturist who will work with both parties to carry out the objectives by assisting with experimental design, managing the research plots, providing guidance and expertise to Patriot Guardens staff, collecting and analyzing data, assisting with the development of external grant proposals, and conducting outreach/education activities related to the shared objectives of the WVMA and USDA-ARS-AFRS.