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Specialty Crop Research Initiative

SCRI
Number: 10.309
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Office: National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Program Information 

Program Number/Title (010):
10.309 Specialty Crop Research Initiative
Federal Agency (030):
National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Department of Agriculture
Authorization (040):
The Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) is authorized by Section 7311 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, which added section 412 to the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 (AREERA). Section 412 of AREERA establishes a specialty crop research and extension initiative to address the critical needs of the specialty crop industry by developing and disseminating science-based tools to address needs of specific crops and their regions. , Public Law 105-185, 7 U.S.C 7632.
Objectives (050):
The Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) was established to solve critical industry issues through research and extension activities. SCRI will give priority to projects that are multistate, multi-institutional, or trans-disciplinary; and include explicit mechanisms to communicate results to producers and the public. Projects must address at least one of five focus areas: research in plant breeding, genetics, and genomics to improve crop characteristics; efforts to identify and address threats from pests and diseases, including threats to specialty crop pollinators; efforts to improve production efficiency, productivity, and profitability over the long term; new innovations and technology, including improved mechanization and technologies that delay or inhibit ripening; and methods to prevent, detect, monitor, control, and respond to potential food safety hazards in the production and processing of specialty crops including fresh produce.
Types of Assistance (060):
PROJECT GRANTS
Uses and Use Restrictions (070):
Grant funds must be used for allowable costs necessary to conduct approved research and extension objectives. Funds shall not be used for the construction of a new building or facility or the acquisition, expansion, remodeling, or alteration of an existing building or facility (including site grading and improvement, and architect fees). Funds may not be used for any purposes other than those approved in the grant award documents. INDIRECT COSTS: Not to exceed 22% of Federal Funds awarded. Applicants may use both the unrecovered indirect costs associated with the Federal Budget and the unrecovered indirect costs associated with the Non-Federal Budget to meet their matching requirements. Indirect costs may not be recovered on third-party matching contributions.
Eligibility Requirements (080)
Applicant Eligibility (081):
Applications may be submitted by Federal agencies, national laboratories, colleges and universities, research institutions and organizations, private organizations or corporations, State agricultural experiment stations, individuals, or groups consisting of two or more of these entities.
Beneficiary Eligibility (082):
Applications may be submitted by Federal agencies, national laboratories, colleges and universities, research institutions and organizations, private organizations or corporations, State agricultural experiment stations, individuals, or groups consisting of two or more of these entities.
Credentials/Documentation (083):
No Credentials or documentation are required. OMB Circular No. A-87 applies to this program.
Application and Award Process (090)
Preapplication Coordination (091):
Notice of Intent to Submit an Application: Prospective applicants are asked to email a notification of intent to submit an application. The notification of intent to submit is not required and does not enter into the review of a subsequent application. The information it contains will be used to help program staff plan the review and estimate the potential review workload. This email should include the following information:
• Descriptive (draft) title of proposed research;
• Name of the Project Director and applicant name if applicable;
• Names of other potential co-Project Directors and their affiliations, if applicable;
• Focus area(s) addressed, (see Part I(B) for specific details);
• Likely type of proposal (Coordinated Agricultural Projects, Standard Research and Extension Projects, Regional Partnerships for Innovation Projects, eXtension Projects, and Research and Extension Planning Projects); and
• Subject line of email should read: SCRI – Intent to Submit. Emails should be sent to scri@csrees.usda.gov. All RFAs are published on the Agency’s website and Grants.gov. Applicants must complete the Grants.gov registration process. Please see the following Grants.gov link for more information: http://www.grants.gov/applicants/get_registered.jsp. An environmental impact statement is required for this program. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.
Application Procedures (092):
OMB Circular No. A-102 applies to this program. OMB Circular No. A-110 applies to this program. Applications should be submitted as outlined in the RFA. Applications must follow the instructions provided per Grants.Gov and in the Agency guide to submitting applications via Grants.gov.
Award Procedure (093):
Applications are subjected to a system of peer and merit review in accordance with section 103 of the Agricultural Research, Extension and Education Reform Act of 1998 (7 U.S.C. 1613) by a panel of qualified scientists and other appropriate persons who are specialists in the field covered by the proposal. Within the limit of funds available for such purpose, the NIFA Authorized Departmental Officer (ADO) shall make grants to those responsible, eligible applicants whose applications are judged most meritorious under the procedures set forth in the RFA. Reviewers will be selected based upon training and experience in relevant scientific, extension, or education fields, taking into account the following factors: (a) The level of relevant formal scientific, technical education, or extension experience of the individual, as well as the extent to which an individual is engaged in relevant research, education, or extension activities; (b) the need to include as reviewers experts from various areas of specialization within relevant scientific, education, or extension fields; (c) the need to include as reviewers other experts (e.g., producers, range or forest managers/operators, and consumers) who can assess relevance of the applications to targeted audiences and to program needs; (d) the need to include as reviewers experts from a variety of organizational types (e.g., colleges, universities, industry, state and Federal agencies, private profit and non-profit organizations) and geographic locations; (e) the need to maintain a balanced composition of reviewers with regard to minority and female representation and an equitable age distribution; and (f) the need to include reviewers who can judge the effective usefulness to producers and the general public of each application. Evaluation Criteria will be delineated in the RFA.
Deadlines (094):
Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.
Range of Approval/Disapproval Time (095):
Section :094 - Deadlines: Dates for specific deadlines are announced in the RFA each fiscal year.
Section :095 - Range of Approval/Disapproval Time: From 30 to 180 days.
Appeals (096):
Not Applicable.
Renewals (097):
Proposals for renewal should be submitted at the announced deadline. Renewals are treated in competition with all other pending proposals.
Assistance Consideration (100)
Formula and Matching Requirements (101):
Statutory formulas are not applicable to this program.
Matching Requirements: Percent: 100.%. Applicants may use both the unrecovered indirect costs associated with the Federal Budget and the unrecovered indirect costs associated with the Non-Federal Budget to meet their matching requirements. Indirect costs may not be recovered on third-party matching contributions.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance (102):
The term of a competitive grant under this program may not exceed ten (10) years. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: by letter of credit.
Post Assistance Requirements (110)
Reports (111):
Grantees are to submit initial project information and annual summary reports to NIFA’s electronic, Web-based inventory system that facilitates both grantee submissions of project outcomes and public access to information on Federally-funded projects. The details of the reporting requirements are included in the award terms and conditions. NIFA uses the SF-425, Federal Financial Report to monitor cash. Grantees are to submit initial project information and annual summary reports to NIFA’s electronic, Web-based inventory system that facilitates both grantee submissions of project outcomes and public access to information on Federally-funded projects. The details of the reporting requirements are included in the award terms and conditions. A final “Financial Status Report” (SF-269) or “Federal Financial Report” (SF-425) is due within 90 days of the expiration date of the grant and should be submitted to the address listed below, in accordance with instructions contained in 2 CFR 3430.55 (also refer to Section 3015.82 of the Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations).

Awards Management Division (AMD)
Office of Grants and Financial Management (OGFM)
National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
STOP 2271
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250-2271
Telephone: (202) 401-4986. Grantees are to submit initial project information and annual summary reports to NIFA’s electronic, Web-based inventory system that facilitates both grantee submissions of project outcomes and public access to information on Federally-funded projects. The details of the reporting requirements are included in the award terms and conditions.
Audits (112):
In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.
Records (113):
In accordance with the Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and other Non-profit Organizations [2 CFR 215, Subpart C, Section 215.53, (OMB Circular A-110)] grantees shall maintain separate records for each grant to ensure that funds are used for authorized purposes. Grant-related records are subject to inspection during the life of the grant and must be retained at least three (3) years. Records must be retained beyond the three-year period if litigation is pending or audit findings have not been resolved.
Financial Information (120)
Obligations (122):
(Project Grants (Cooperative Agreements)) FY 13 $0; FY 14 est $75,186,130; and FY 15 est $75,186,130 - The difference between the appropriation and obligation numbers reflects legislative authorized set-asides deducted as appropriate, and in some cases the availability of obligational authority from prior years.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance (123):
If minimum or maximum amounts of funding per competitive project grant or cooperative agreement are established, these will be announced in the annual program announcement or Request for Application (RFA).
Program Accomplishments (130):
Fiscal Year 2013: For the FY 2013 award cycle, there was no funding available for project grant awards. Fiscal Year 2014: For the FY 2014 award cycle, approximately $75 million is available for project grant awards after subtracting administrative costs. This amount is divided into two programs: approximately $51 million for the traditional SCRI program and approximately $24 million for the Citrus Research and Extension Program.

At the end of July 2014, a peer-review panel will evaluate 75 applications requesting a total of $75,186.130 which were received in this year’s competition for the traditional SCRI program. The peer panel include faculty from land grant and non-land grant colleges and universities, industry scientists, and practitioners from the food and agricultural sciences community.

Funds are available to support approximately a total of 20-30 new awards as Project Types: Standard Research & Extension Projects, Planning Grants, Coordinated Agricultural projects. The funding rate for this program in FY14 will be between 20-40% for new awards.

The SCRI citrus research & extension program peer review panel will be completed in November, 2014, so proposals have not yet been received.

Funded projects address one or more of the following legislatively mandated focus areas: (a) Research in plant breeding, genetics, and genomics to improve crop characteristics; (b) Efforts to identify and address threats from pests and diseases, including threats to specialty crop pollinators (c) Efforts to improve production efficiency, productivity, and profitability over the long term (including specialty crop policy and marketing); (d) New innovations and technology , including improved mechanization and technologies that delay or inhibit ripening; and (e) Methods to prevent, detect, monitor, control, and respond to potential food safety hazards in the production and processing of specialty crops, including fresh produce. Fiscal Year 2015: Based on current Congressional drafts, the agency projects that approximately $75 million will be available for Fiscal Year 2015.
Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature (140):
7 CFR Part 3430, Competitive and Noncompetitive Non-formula Grant Programs – General Grant Administrative Provisions and Program-Specific Administrative Provisions; 7 CFR Part 3015, USDA Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations; 7 CFR Part 3017, Government wide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) ; 7 CFR Part 3018, New Restrictions on Lobbying; 7 CFR Part 3019, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-profit Organizations; and 7 CFR Part 3021— USDA implementation of Governmentwide Requirements for Drug-free Workplace (Financial Assistance).
Information Contacts (150)
Regional or Local Office (151) :
None.
Headquarters Office (152):
USDA, NIFA, National Program Leader; Institute of Food Production and Sustainablity, Division of Plant Systems-Production, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., STOP 2240, Washington, District of Columbia 20250-2240 Phone: (202) 401-4202 Fax: (202) 401-1782
Website Address (153):
http://www.nifa.usda.gov/
Examples of Funded Projects (170):
Fiscal Year 2013: COMPREHENSIVE AUTOMATION FOR SPECIALTY CROPS
The specialty crops industry is facing a crisis of increasing labor costs and shortages of available labor; if the trends continue, farms are at risk of economic failure. Increasing labor efficiency is vital to the survival of this important industry. The goal of this project is to work with the specialty crop industry to fulfill its vision of significantly reducing the cost of production of US fruit by developing a comprehensive automation system. The Team developed, tested, and assessed nine individual field improvement technologies, looking at socio-economic utility and conducting public outreach. Of these technologies, the autonomous orchard platform, which compares to a ladder, has been found to increase production efficiency in trials between 30-116%, depending on the fruit. In addition, an automatic counter system showed 89-100% counting accuracy at 3 and 5 mph; a harvest assist system has shown an increase in productivity, safety and reduced fruit bruising (3-6%); and an improvement to the Z-trap, a bug trapping and counting device by eliminating false detection, increasing their operation time, and the ability to read results on the web.

ADVANCED SENSING AND MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGIES TO OPTIMIZE RESOURCE USE IN SPECIALTY CROPS: CASE STUDIES OF WATER AND NITROGEN IN DECIDUOUS CROPS (2008-51180-19563). Water and nitrogen management in deciduous perennial crops is constrained by a lack of information and an inability to provide targeted management. Rising fertilizer prices, water shortages in the major production regions, market and environmental demands, and the contribution of greenhouse gas production in the form of N2O, has resulted in great interest among the deciduous tree industries to develop improved management practices. This project addressed this situation by examining nutrient and water use in Almond, Pecan, Grape and Pistachio crops at the field level, by remote sensing from above the canopy and by aerial and satellite imagery, and by modeling to provide growers with the ability to manage water and nitrogen with more efficiency. The team improved the way nutrient status of the trees is assessed with leaf sampling strategies and nutrient budget models to help growers better monitor and manage the nutrient status of their orchards and increase their profitability and environmental stewardship. They also looked at water demand, light canopy, root biology, and how these played into nutrient uptake. Results of this project have played an integral part in informing new regulatory guidelines for nitrogen management in almond and pistachio in California.

PARTICIPATORY MODELING AND DECISION SUPPORT FOR IMPROVING SWEET POTATO PRODUCTION EFFICIENCY, QUALITY AND FOOD SAFETY (2009-51181-06071)
Production and marketing trends in the last five years, generated by increasing public awareness of sweet potato's health attributes, point to a marked increase in domestic and international demand. Yet erratic yields and escalating costs of production have left many producers on the edge of profitability and vulnerable to adversity such as drought. In addition, producers must contend with huge variations in storage root yield, quality, disease, and storability. This project has improved sweet potato production efficiencies and contributed to sustainability of these operations. Specific goals met were the: development of a decision support system which optimizes yield under various growing environments; building a new understanding of storage root initiation and end rot infections; predicting vulnerable infection periods and refining application methods; establishing breeding nurseries to select germplasm with superior attributes for skinning resistance, bulk harvest and post harvest losses; and creating Crisis Communication Workbooks and Plans to aid producers in making informed decisions on food safety issues. Through on farm research and demonstrations, stakeholders and growers were included throughout the research process. This project has helped to ensure sweet potato producers can reduce yield variability, capitalize on expanding opportunities and remain profitable.
ENHANCING BIOLOGICAL CONTROL TO STABILIZE WESTERN ORCHARD IPM SYSTEMS (2008-51180-19560)
This project will identify solutions to the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) mandated reductions in organophosphate pesticide use. This change has destabilized IPM systems in use for decades in three high-value tree crops (apple, pear, and walnut) in the western US due to a lack of understanding on how these new chemicals affect natural enemies. The goal of this project is to ensure the sustainability of these crops by developing new biological control recommendations for insect and mite pests and educating growers and pest managers through outreach tools. The impact of this work will be a reduction in pesticide use, a decrease in costs and improved worker safety. The objectives are too study pesticide impacts on natural enemy populations, natural enemy phenology, natural enemy identification and monitoring, as well as to look at economic costs, the risks, and to conduct outreach. The project team successfully characterized the disruptive potential of seven pesticides used for management of codling moth and diseases on a set of natural enemies (NE) that contribute to the management of secondary pests in western apple, pear and walnut orchards; created models for these industries with precise information on when different NEs occur in the season; found the recombination of attractants can make more attractive and selective lures; and identified key predators in apple orchards, allowing the targeting of conservation efforts for these taxa. Economically, for every dollar spent on pesticides toxic to natural enemies in apple and pear an additional $0.52 and $0.47 (respectively) was required for control of secondary pests. Surveys also showed growers are willing to spend more to have ecologically and economically sound IPM programs. The project sponsored multiple educational opportunities, including a short course training classes, and developed educational materials.
AN INVASIVE MEALYBUG PEST AND AN EMERGING VIRAL DISEASE: A DANGEROUS MIX FOR WEST COAST VINEYARDS (2009-51181-06027)
California, Oregon and Washington wine grapes provide billions of dollars in revenue through sales and tourism. In recent years, the rapid expansion of grape industry in the region has increased virus disease problems. Leafroll disease (GLD) lowers crop yield and wine grape quality, jeopardizing the region's wine crop. The disease is caused by a complex group of viruses (GLRaVs) and mealybugs are a vector. This project will address basic questions on GLD epidemiology through studies on the virus(es) and vector(s) and will fill the gaps in our knowledge to mitigate the threat from mealybugs and GLD, including basic studies of biology, ecology and management, vector-pathogen relationships, and control measures for growers.
The team used surveys to document viruses infecting wine and juice grapes throughout the three state region, monitoring the spatial and temporal spread, identifying species and population peaks. In California, it was viewed that GLD should be managed in an area wide program. Study findings include: In California, five mealybug species are present in vineyards, whereas as in Oregon and Washington only the grape mealybug is prevalent; mealybug transmission time is less than one hour to transmit the virus, with a transmission efficiency range between 4-50%; 71% of the GLRaV-3 positive samples from Napa Valley came from 3 of the 7 variants identified; Virginia creeper leaf hopper can transmit GRBaV between grapevines; Grapevines with GRB symptoms show lower yield and lower sugar content in the berries; and spatio-temporal spread of GLD shows “clean” cuttings are vulnerable to infection if neighboring plants are infested. The team developed a multiplex PCR to test and identify the seven mealybug species found in North American vineyards and tested combinations of mating disruption and insecticides for the best control of two species of mealybugs. Fiscal Year 2014: A DIAGNOSTIC TOOLBOX FOR INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT OF POST HARVEST APPLE NECROTIC DISORDERS (2010-51181-21446)
Physiological disorders in apples during post harvest are often characterized by peeling or browning and can cause significant financial loss to the industry annually. These disorders currently have no controls that are consistent or practices which are accepted throughout the industry. This project will introduce an alternative control strategy which is based on diagnostic biomarkers. This approach will provide storage managers with effective tools, giving predictability and target-ability. This will better guide storage management and marketing decisions, providing quality assurance in the supply chain. Specifically, the team will develop cost effective metabolite and genetic biomarker-based tools that can predict, diagnose, and distinguish post harvest necrotic disorders. This will be a technology shift from treatment based apple storage to a management-based system similar to integrated pest management systems in orchards. The project will assure product implementation through outreach activities. Meeting project goals will reduce economic and environmental impacts while enhancing apple marketability, improving the fruit industry with new integrated storage management tools.

A SYSTEMS APPROACH TO MANAGING MICROBIAL THREATS TO GREENHOUSE TOMATOES (2010-51181-21415)
The goal of this project is to increase the competitiveness, profitability, safety, and sustainability of greenhouse tomato industry by improving food safety and disease management approaches. Nearly 40% of tomatoes sold in U.S. grocery stores are produced in greenhouses, and are valued for high quality and year-round availability. The greenhouse tomato industry identified disease management as its most serious production problem and better, more cost-effective disease management practices as its highest priority need. Priority diseases are bacterial canker, viroids, Pepino mosaic virus and Botrytis gray mold. Further, food borne human pathogens pose a significant risk to the industry at large. This project aims to use a systems approach, adapting elements of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point system, to design Best Management Practices (BMPs) and develop tools that will improve the efficiency, profitability, safety and economic competitiveness of the greenhouse tomato industry. Large-, medium- and small-scale greenhouse tomato producers will benefit from the outputs of this project through increased awareness, understanding, and new technology to deal with tomato-associated human and plant pathogens. Efforts to prevent illnesses associated with fresh produce benefit society at large by encouraging confidence in produce safety and consumption of healthful products.
Determining the Roles and Limiting Factors Facing Native Pollinators in Assuring Quality Apple Production in Pennsylvania; A Model for the Mid-Atlantic Tree Fruit Industry (2010-51181-21346)
To truly address the threats to pollination there should be contingency plans that include the development of alternative pollinators and baseline data to measure future impacts on our native bees. Developing multiple tactics with multiple pollinator species represents the most robust management approach for a future of uncertain climate, environmental disruptions, and invasive species introductions. What is certain is that: a) the supply of honey bees in the U.S. will not be able to meet the demand for pollination services; b) that production costs for honey bees will go up; and c) that the cost to growers to rent honey bee hives will continue to increase. The economic impacts of pollinator shortages on US specialty crops could be considerable and for fruit growers have resulted in a 3 fold increase in the cost of renting hives. Rising costs combined with declining yields would lead to higher prices of US nuts, fruits and vegetables which would reduce exports of major commodities during a record US trade deficit. Another 3,500 non-Apis bee species in the US,however,are also important pollinators. These include bumble bees and many species of solitary bees which are collectively known as pollen bees. The value of pollen bees in US agriculture is conservatively estimated at $3 billion annually. The importance of native bees in the pollination of fruit in the Mid-Atlantic region has been underestimated due to our unique landscape ecology of agricultural and non-agricultural lands and the mosaic of diversified fruit and vegetable farms. These impart unique advantages in pollinator conservation and utilization compared to the monocultures of the Midwest or dry areas of the West. For most bee species, the paucity of long-term population data and our incomplete knowledge of even basic taxonomy, life history and ecology makes assessing their value and possible declines in some regions very difficult. Wild and managed species of pollen bees in many cases can supplement honey bees for pollination, and, in some situations, replace them. The National Research Council's Committee on the Status of Pollinators in North America (2007) issued a report assessing pollinators in North America. Our proposal addresses the NRC recommendations and long-term goals.
Innovative Technologies and Process Optimization for Food Safety Risk Reduction Associated with Fresh and Fresh-cut Leafy Green Vegetables (2010-51181-21230)
Currently, no processing technology eliminates human pathogens without compromising quality. Industry critically needs tools to reduce pathogen levels and prevent cross-contamination during fresh-cut processing, and prevent pathogen proliferation in the supply chain. Significant reductions in pathogen contamination will reduce food-borne illness, restore consumer confidence in leafy greens, promote sustained industry growth, and, in the long term, improve public health by increasing fresh produce consumption. This project addresses these needs using a system-based approach to fresh-cut processing and retail display, considering both food safety and quality. The overall goal of this project is to reduce the risk of pathogen contamination on fresh-cut leafy greens.
A SMART TRAP SYSTEM FOR THE INVASIVE AMBROSIA BEETLES IN PRODUCTION NURSERIES (2010-51181-21169)
This project will develop a SMART trap as the cornerstone of an Integrated Pest Management program to combat the invasive Asian ambrosia beetle in commercial nurseries. Less than ten years ago, this destructive beetle was unknown, but currently ambrosia beetles threaten to destroy thousands of acres of existing trees and whole crops of ornamental plants. Most attacks by the beetles are fatal, but because current monitoring tactics do not provide producers with timely and accurate information to make management decisions, insecticides are over-applied with negligible impact on crop damage and loss. A SMART trap will be developed that has integrated sensors for beetle attraction, capture, identification, and confirmation as well as have time sequencing with alarm modes to transmit information wirelessly to SMART phone devices such as an iPhone or Blackberry PDA. Extension/outreach will provide on-site demonstrations and dissemination of research findings at local, regional, and national meetings of nursery growers. The information the SMART trap collects can help nurseries equipped with the traps to reduce crop loss, isolate spray locations, decrease the amount of spray used, reduce crop costs, and improve overall farm management. The SMART trap is still being refined and improved based on field data and will be placed in nurseries in spring 2012. The current version of the SMART trap is conveniently deployed in the field with minimal maintenance required. It possesses solar module supplies, a vertical array of LED lights, volatile attractant dispenser, mesh to filter larger insects, and timer for LED lights. Research and outreach efforts were made to the horticulture industry in Alabama and Ohio through grower meetings. Also, the project website, facebook and twitter accounts have project updates. Fiscal Year 2015: It is projected that approximately $75 million will be available, with approximately $24 million designated for the citrus research and extension program. The remaining funded projects will address one or more of the following legislatively mandated focus areas: (a) Research in plant breeding, genetics, and genomics to improve crop characteristics; (b) Efforts to identify and address threats from pests and diseases, including threats to specialty crop pollinators (c) Efforts to improve production efficiency, productivity, and profitability over the long term (including specialty crop policy and marketing); (d) New innovations and technology , including improved mechanization and technologies that delay or inhibit ripening; and (e) Methods to prevent, detect, monitor, control, and respond to potential food safety hazards in the production and processing of specialty crops, including fresh produce.
Criteria for Selecting Proposals (180):
Within guidelines established for the program as described in the request for applications.