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Horticulture

Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium

In an effort to better serve county cooperative extension horticulture agents and the small fruit industry in the South, the Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium (SRSFC) was established in 1999 through a memorandum of understanding. SRSFC is a collaborative effort among five southern land-grant universities: Virginia Tech, North Carolina State University, Clemson University, University of Georgia, and the University of Tennessee. The consortium pools the five states’ small fruits resources and expertise to enhance the development of the small fruit industries in the region.

The SRSFC conducts two agent training workshops on small fruit production per year, supports the Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium Web site, sponsors small fruit grower meetings, and awards annual research and extension grants. For example, the SRSFC conducted 10 agent training sessions between 1999 and 2005 involving a total of 233 agents and awarded over $300,000 in research and extension grants from 2001 to 2005.

Each member institution supports the consortium through annual dues of $35,000 from Hatch and Smith Lever funds designated for regional collaboration. The consortium is governed by a steering committee consisting of two faculty with small fruit responsibilities, one administrator from each institution, one industry representative from each of the member states, and the executive director of the Southern Association of Agriculture Experiment Directors.

The steering committee approves the annual budget, reviews and ranks grant proposals, assists with agent training workshops, contributes to the SRSFC Web site, and attends the organization’s annual meeting, held in conjunction with the Southern Region of the American Society for Horticultural Science annual meeting.

Tom Bewick is the NIFA representative to the SRSFC steering committee and attends its annual meeting.

The SRSFC would like to expand its membership to other southern states. Representatives of states interested should contact Tom Monaco for additional information. A presentation on the history and accomplishments of the SRSFC is available.

 

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