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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Wooster, Ohio » Application Technology Research » Research » Research Project #435251

Research Project: Resilient Plants: Production, Shipping and Postharvest Techniques to Maximize Sales and Sell-Through While Minimizing Inputs

Location: Application Technology Research

Project Number: 5082-21000-018-13-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2018
End Date: Aug 31, 2019

Objective:
This project will identify production techniques, pre-shipping treatments, and postharvest handling guidelines to maximize plant resilience to decrease losses and increase profitability thorugh evaluation of economic parameters.

Approach:
• Tracking current crop losses, key performance indicators, and sell-through in young plant and finished plant production, and retail. Survey methodology will be used to collect these data, tools will be generated for grower benchmarking, and the economic value on improved resilience will be quantified. • Developing an Index of Prices Paid by Growers that will supply information regarding the increased costs of all inputs used by growers during young and finished plant production. Yearly forecasts of economic performance of the green industry will also be developed for growers to gauge the effectiveness of resilience-related production methods. • Investigating the carbon footprint and economic tradeoffs when producing resilient young plants, bedding plants, and potted flowering crops. • Investigating consumer preferences of resilient floriculture crops, along with retail messaging regarding plant benefits. This research will use a combination of research tools including eye tracking, biometrics measurements, and other tools in choice experiments. Partial budgeting modeling procedures will be used to measure the profitability of shortrun changes in cultural practices in the production and postproduction systems analyzed. The overall impact will be evaluated by measuring four separate effects including: (1) added costs of production incurred by the use of alternative materials, cultural practices, and/or postproduction treatments; (2) added income resulting from increased levels of production and/or price premiums associated with higher quality crops; (3) costs savings realized through more efficient management practices or reduced inputs; and (4) income that may be lost when substituting one crop for another in the production system. When the development phase of the proposed practices extends to two or more years, it will be important to take into account the effect of delayed returns by using a net present value analysis to fully take into account the longer-term nature of any investment in capital equipment that may be necessary to implement some of the proposed changes in production or postproduction practices.