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Horticulture

National Berry Crop Initiative

Specialty crops, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and berries, account for 50 percent of all crop-based agriculture, according to the USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service. Small fruits, including strawberries, blueberries, table grapes, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries, and currants, are high value horticultural crops used in both fresh and processed fruit markets. Berry crops have the potential to improve vision, fight cancer, and treat infections, but more research, education, and extension efforts are needed to determine the potential health benefits of these crops and to help inform producers and consumers about the benefits.

NIFA and the National Berry Crop Initiative are working together to develop a strategic research and extension plan for berry crops. The strategic plan will help inform state and federal funding agencies on how to best serve this group of stakeholders. A workshop to refine a draft strategic plan will be held immediately prior to the annual meeting of the North Central Coordinating Committee 022 (NCCC022, formerly NCR022) in Geneva, NY. NCCC022 is a multi-state working group focused on small fruit research and extension. The workshop will bring together growers, industry representatives, and research and extension faculty from across the country. Dates for the workshop are October 25-26, 2005. There will be a get-to-know-you social at the workshop hotel on the evening of October 24. Courtney Weber and Marvin Pritts from Cornell University are serving as local arrangement hosts. For more information, contact Tom Bewick, NIFA National Program Leader for horticulture.

 

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