OFRF Awards Grant to Develop Integrated Pest and Pollinator Strategies for Organic Strawberries

Although strawberry production is an important industry in Florida, with 11,000 acres and a production value of over $300 million (USDA 2014), the state lags behind other regions in certified organic acreage. In an effort to support more organic production, OFRF has awarded a grant to researchers from the University of Florida to develop integrated pest and pollinator management strategies on certified organic land.

New Report Highlights Need for Organic Seed Breeding

The fresh produce from your local grocery store or farmers’ market may be certified organic, but anywhere from 25-80 percent of it might not have started out that way. A recent report from the Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) reveals that the organic seed industry is far from keeping pace with the growth in demand for organic products. According to the Organic Trade Association (OTA), organic’s market share grew by eleven percent (or $43 billion) between 2014 and 2015.

Research Focuses on Improving Soil Health and Resiliency

While the majority of carrots are cultivated in California, recent droughts and water use restrictions may impact the success of future crops. Even in states such as Wisconsin, where water is more abundant, crops must overcome fluctuating soil moisture regimes due to differences in soil drainage, water-holding capacity, and microclimate conditions. Organic vegetable crops can also be challenged by more slowly available soil nutrients, especially in newly organic land.