Oregon's No. 1 ag commodity, nursery, will receive state research funds to reboot its financial status.
Nearly $180,000 in grants has been awarded for research projects targeting some of the challenges facing Oregon growers.
"Oregon has a great reputation for high quality nursery stock," says Oregon Department of Agriculture Nursery and Christmas Tree Program Supervisor Gary McAninch. "The industry counts on that quality to sell plants. Research helps the industry improve and maintain that quality while keeping Oregon competitive in the marketplace."
Whether it is dealing with plant diseases issues, improving nutrient management, or increasing propagation efficiency, funds set aside by ODA for nursery licenses goes to support a nursery research grant program that annually awards funds to various projects.
"Industry is very supportive of this grant program," says McAninch. "It's one of the best ways to resolve key issues wand why nursery growers are more than happy to direct part of their money to research."
Out of 17 project proposals for 2011, nine are receiving grants from the nursery research program totaling $177,758. Typically, projects that benefit a large portion of the nursery industry, and not just a handful of growers, are awarded grants from the fund.
The list of grant awards includes projects that generally improve production of nursery plants. Recipients include:
• Harold Pellet and Ryan Contreras of Landscape Plant Development Center (a non-profit research institute in Minnesota) and Oregon State University: $30, 000 to develop superior cultivars of landscape plants.
• Contreras, OSU, $20,570 to develop sterile cherrylaurel cultivars.
• Jim Owen, Jr., OSU: $26,932 to study the integration of selected alternative substrates for wood ornamental container production.
• Owen, OSU; Reza Ehsani, University of Florida; James Robbins, University of Arkansas: $13,488 to test unmanned aircraft in collection of nursery and Christmas inventory data.
• Barbara Reed, Agricultural Research Service: $22,000 to study improved mineral nutrition for micropropagation of woody nursery crops.
• Nik Grunwald, ARS: $27,048 to study the spatial and temporal dynamics of foliar phytophthora species on rhododendron in nurseries.
• Chal Landgren, OSU: $8,780 to test various soil additives to increase plant survival and growth.
• The Horticultural Research Institute: $10,000 to support ongoing research.
• OSU's North Willamette Research & Extension Center: $18,940 to support a student intern.