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SPECIALTY CROP GRANT AWARDS 2011

In 2011, the Washington State Department of Agriculture awarded $2,788,367 to 20 projects:

Organization: Pacific Coast Cranberry Research Foundation


Project: Technology Transfer for Sustainable Cranberry Production
Award: $150,964
Abstract: The Washington cranberry industry has over 110 growers, most of whom are small-scale and
part-time with limited financial resources. These cranberry-growing regions have some of Washingtons
highest unemployment rates and lowest incomes. Limited financial resources preclude adoption of many
costly mandated practices. Because of outmoded irrigation practices and non-compliant chemigation
systems, regulatory measures are being pursued to mitigate negative effects from pesticide use. The
livelihood of producers is jeopardized. This project would enable the industry to examine progressive
technologies and evaluate adaptive feasibility of these practices. Cost-effective, state-of-the-art
technologies involving irrigation equipment, moisture monitoring, chemigation, and water and pest
management will be showcased at the PCCRF farm. Phase I (2011-2012) will benchmark production
practices and enhance grower knowledge about ecosystem-enhancing practices and irrigation technology
to achieve regulatory compliance while mitigating risk to ESA-listed species and preserving key
resources. A self-certification program will guide growers in evaluating conformity with stewardship
practices. Phase II (2012-2013) will evaluate technologies and assess grower interest in formulating an
incentive-based, cost-share program to accelerate practice adoption. A subsequent application will seek
cost-share funds. Outcomes include minimizing regulatory repercussions, reducing economic uncertainty
and regulatory barriers, increasing sustainability and food safety and fostering retention of small family
farms.
Organization: Washington State Horticultural Association
Project: Grasp: Growers Response to Agricultural Safe & Sustainable Practices
Award: $172,577
Abstract: The GRAS2P program was created by the Washington State Horticultural Association to assist
growers in attaining certification of their orchards under a range of audit schemes designed to insure
good agricultural practices (GAPs) are in place. GRAS2P was designed as an audit readiness program
for growers of all sizes and the guidance manual created as a step by step approach to insure certification.
With passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act and retailers requiring on orchard certifications the
utilization has increased dramatically. Manual preparation/reproduction, training of specialists to teach
growers and conduct pre-audits and the creation of training videos and teaching aids are a part of keeping
Washington tree fruit growers competitive in the world marketplace by insuring adherence to food safety
standards at the farm level. The creation of this program meets WSHAs educational mission to the
industry. This grant is being sought to offset compliance costs to the grower community and educate
growers and workers as to the need for GAPs that will help insure delivery to the warehouse of product
free from biological contaminants. With compliance costs nearly the same for growers of all sizes, this
grant will be particularly helpful in sustaining small family orchard operations.

SPECIALTY CROP GRANT AWARDS 2011


Organization: Washington State University
Project: Tracking the Organic Sector in Washington State
Award: $65,162
Abstract: The project objective is to enhance Washington growers ability to tap into expanding organic
specialty crop markets by providing current, detailed statistics on the organic specialty crop sector for use
in business decisions. Funding will support annual collection, reporting and presentation of statistical data
on organic specialty crops in Washington for 2011 and 2012. In addition, detailed statistics will be
developed for organic tree fruit including variety production area, and market volume and pricing. Data
will be collected from organic certifiers working in Washington and analyzed and compiled by WSUCSANR personnel. A baseline analysis of state yields/acre, gross revenues/acre and unit prices for major
organic specialty crops will be done on 2010 data. Global statistics on organic fruit will be compiled in
2012 based on our data as well as that collected by FiBL and USDA-ERS. Results of the various studies
will be distributed to specialty crop producers to assist them in evaluating entry into or expansion of
organic production area, and to industry, policy groups, organic certifiers, USDA-ERS, FiBL, and other
interested parties.
Organization: Washington State University
Project: Advancing food safety GAPs among Washington specialty crops growers
Award: $103,246
Abstract: Food safety risks present a significant financial threat to specialty crop producers, and on-farm
production practices are critical for pathogen risk reduction. Project objectives are to increase
implementation of on-farm food safety practices and documentation through interactive workshops with
growers. These objectives are important and timely; growers have an immediate need to implement GAPs
practices and documentation to meet regulatory and buyer requirements. The educational focus will be
conducting targeted workshops and field days with mock audit scenarios to help growers develop food
safety practices and documentation for their operations. This project builds on current WSU extension
and research efforts involving GAPs education for Washington growers and assessment of pathogen risk
in agricultural environments. Project impacts include increased implementation of food safety practices
and documentation among specialty crop growers to broaden marketing opportunities.
Organization: Washington State University
Project: Developing a Sustainability Report Card for Washington Concord Grape Production
Award: $65,386
Abstract: To maintain and enhance marketplace competition for Concord grape products (largely juice,
some jellies), processors are being required by distributors to document sustainable agricultural practices
for retail distribution. Several Concord grape-producing states have developed and implemented
sustainability assessment tools. To maintain market presence and retail shelf space accessibility for
Washington State Concord grape products, this project will develop a comprehensive sustainability
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SPECIALTY CROP GRANT AWARDS 2011


assessment tool (i.e., report card) for Washington State Concord producers. In an iterative process,
collaboratively with growers and processors, this Sustainability Report Card will be developed to assess
current on-farm practices, provide a ranking in terms of the sustainability of these practices, and offer an
action plan of alternative management strategies to improve practices when needed. The proposed project
includes two years of field implementation and development. Our goal is to involve 30% of the industry
during this two-year developmental phase, during which the Sustainability Report Card will be fine-tuned
based on industry needs and feedback. The final Sustainability Report Card will be deployed industrywide at the projects conclusion to help ensure the continuous improvement and sustainable future for
production and marketability of Washington State Concord grapes.
Organization: Washington State Potato Commission
Project: Filling the gaps in nematode management in potatoes
Award: $125,000
Abstract: This study aims to add tools to plant-parasitic nematode management in potatoes, allowing a
more integrated management approach than is currently possible. The sustainability and profitability of
the potato industry stand to benefit greatly from a broader base for management of the plant-parasitic
Columbia root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne chitwoodi), a nearly ubiquitous pest of potato production in
the Pacific Northwest. The objectives of this project are to (1) test the performance of a M. chitwoodiresistant breeding line that is close to release compared with Russet Burbank, under full commercial
fumigation and under varying degrees of soft nematicides and green manure options; (2) study the plant
infection process and how to interrupt it by deactivating M. chitwoodi effector genes and analyzing their
functions during plant infection; and (3) increase grower and crop consultant understanding of nematode
biology, symptoms, and management options. We expect that potato growers, the main beneficiaries of
this project, would be impacted immediately by increased understanding of plant-parasitic nematodes and
in 3-4 years by having access to integrated management tools that would allow them to reduce reliance on
pesticides to control M. chitwoodi. The alternative management approaches we plan to develop would
save millions of dollars in production costs.
Organization: Washington State University
Project: Enhancing tree fruit IPM decision making through advances on WSU-DAS and training of
growers and pest management advisors
Award: $214,215
Abstract: This project will augment the ability of Washington tree fruit growers and pest management
decision-makers to make timely, informed, and effective pest and disease management decisions. This
goal will be accomplished (1) by improving existing elements and adding new functionality to the webbased WSU-Decision Aid System (DAS), which has been an important tool for the industry, and (2) by
training growers and pest management advisors in the use of DAS. Workshops will be held specifically to
train Hispanic growers and pest managers on how to use and benefit from DAS. Upgrades of DAS will
allow orchard-specific data entries that will improve site-specific management recommendations, provide
push-notifications for customizable pest/disease alerts, and enable broader access to DAS information on
mobile devices. The WA tree fruit industry will benefit economically through improved pest and disease
control (reduced crop losses), reduced number and/or cost of treatments, and through fast and more
convenient information transfer. Benefits for the WA farmworkers, the general population, and the
environment will derive from reduced pesticide use and improved pesticide choice.
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SPECIALTY CROP GRANT AWARDS 2011


Organization: Washington State Horticultural Association
Project: Tree Fruit Industry Fruit Frost Forecast
Award: $62,000
Abstract: The Project will fund spring and fall Fruit Frost Forecasts on radio and web formats for 2012,
and 2013. The Project will serve to educate growers as to potential risks posed by frost in the spring over
our widely divergent geographical area. This grant will allow for a morning forecast as well as the
customary evening forecast; better advance warning will allow for adequate preparation to insure wind,
water and supplemental heaters are ready. Timely and advance warning is critical to both tree fruit and
wine grape growers. Failure to be aware of the need for protection can result in partial or total crop loss.
Insuring consistent, annual production is the key to maintaining domestic and export markets. Expanded
fall and winter coverage would be available in the event of arctic outbreaks such as the one this past
November and in February of this year. We will contract with Clearwest to provide the forecasting
service.
Organization: Washington State University
Project: Improved Management of Hop Powdery Mildew to Preserve the Economic Viability of the U.S.
Hop Industry
Award: $250,000
Abstract: This project seeks to develop and implement practical disease management approaches that
will optimize economic, horticultural, and environmental aspects related to the management of hop
powdery mildew. Disease related costs are conservatively estimated at over $10,000,000 annually from
both increased production costs and crop loss, with pleiotrophic effects on supply stability, brewing
quality, and export restrictions due to MRL incongruence in some markets. We propose to improve
management through a better understanding of fundamental disease biology and epidemiology by
defining factors related to pathogen persistence and host susceptibility at various development stages. In
this project we will:
(1) Quantify the temporal susceptibility of crown buds to powdery mildew in different developmental
stages and the effect of cultural practices on perennation of the pathogen;
(2) Clarify the seasonal development of the disease on leaves and cones in relation to early and late
season cultural practices; and
(3) Disseminate results to industry stakeholder through established partnerships, conduits, and
technologies.
Completion of this research should enable more effective and sustainable management of powdery
mildew, and increase the competitiveness of the U.S. hop industry while serving as a model for integrated
management of powdery mildew diseases in other perennial specialty crops.

Organization: Hop Growers of America (HGA)


Project: Chinese Brewery Education & Promotion of American Hops
Award: $111,413
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SPECIALTY CROP GRANT AWARDS 2011


Abstract: HGA will send a delegation to China in June 2012 to conduct a series of technical seminar on
brewing with US hops, targeting Chinas 20 top breweries. The delegation will then return to China in
October 2012 to meet with these companies privately at their respective breweries (following up on the
June seminar to provide more personalized instruction). The June seminars will be held at one or two
central locations (likely Shanghai or Beijing), while the October meetings will vary depending on
brewery locations. HGA will hire three contractors to execute this project: 1) a US marketing firm
experienced in the hop and brewing sectors to manage the overall effort, 2) a US brewing consultant to
lead the technical training, and 3) a Chinese marketing consultant to help set up logistics, recruit brewery
participation, and act as HGAs interpreter. HGAs Administrator, Ann George, along with the HGA
Board of Directors, will provide oversight. The objective of the meetings and seminar is to increase
awareness and knowledge on American hop varieties amongst Chinese brewers, and ultimately to
increase US market share of the hop trade in China, the worlds leading beer producer.
Organization: Washington State University
Project: Spotted Wing Drosophila Management on Tree Fruits
Award: $170,241
Abstract: This project is a multifaceted research and outreach program that addresses a critical invasive
pest issue threatening the production and profitability of the fruit industry in Washington State. Spotted
winged drosophila is a newly introduced pest to the state, and unlike other vinegar flies, this pest been
found to infest intact fruits such as sweet cherries, peaches, nectarines, blueberries and caneberries. The
research objectives include developing information on the basic ecology of this new pest: seasonal
phenology, monitoring, overwintering, and native hosts. In addition, other objectives address very
practical questions: crop risk and preharvest protection measures, and postharvest treatments. Outreach
will occur through websites, email lists, meetings and workshops. Although the primary focus will be on
sweet cherries and apples, information in the ecology, biology, and control of this pest will be beneficial
to all fruit growers in the state.
Organization: Northwest Agriculture Business Center
Project: Developing a Hard Cider Culture in Western Washington
Award: $74,990
Abstract: Hard cider has a long history in the United States and Western Europe (Lea 2008; Copas 2001;
Proulx and Nichols 1997), and cider is one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. liquor industry
today (Rowles 2000, Kitsock 2009). Cider varieties are distinct from dessert apples in that they have
levels of tannins that enhance cider when fermented (Mohr 1988; Williams 1975; Cider Advisory
Committee 1956). Interest in commercial cider production is increasing locally, regionally and nationally
(Rex-Johnson 2008; Pucci 2008). Several regional cider houses have been developed in Washington and
Oregon states that make up the Northwest Cider Association (www.nwcider.com). A great potential
exists to create a Washington hard cider culture that rivals the wine culture of eastern Washington. In
order to create such a culture further research in hard cider varieties and education of quality hard cider
production in the western region needs to be conducted. This project will strive to build upon the
foundation of an emerging industry that can provide a significant revenue stream for Washington cider
apple producers and cider makers for years to come.
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SPECIALTY CROP GRANT AWARDS 2011


Organization: USDA, ARS
Project: Sanitization of soft fruits with ultraviolet (UV-C) light
Award: $78,470
Abstract: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act requires
growers/packers of fresh fruits and vegetables to adapt preventive microbiological controls such as
chemical sanitizers to minimize the risk of human pathogens. Tree-ripe fruits cannot withstand vigorous
washing steps without impairing product quality, thus these fruits are manually packed without the use of
water. To satisfy the FDAs requirement for preventive controls and to enhance microbial safety of the
soft fruits, products must be sanitized by non-aqueous technologies. Our proposed project is designed to
study the feasibility of applying ultraviolet (UV-C) light to tree-ripe fruits (viz., apricots and/or peaches).
Specifically, we plan to assess the efficacy of UV-C in inactivating common enteric human foodborne
bacterial pathogens and maintaining fruit quality during post-UV storage. Furthermore, to ensure and
validate uniform UV-C exposure of all fruit surfaces, a rotating conveyer and the use of UV film
dosimetry will be evaluated. In addition, the technology will be tested in commercial trials with our
industry cooperator. Successful demonstration and implementation of UV-C technology will enable the
fruit industry to meet the requirements of the Food Safety Act, while improving microbial safety and
increasing the consumption of healthful fresh fruits.
Organization: Washington Apple Commission (WAC)
Project: Retail Training in Care, Handling and Merchandising Seminars and DVD
Award: $203,900
Abstract: WAC requests WSDA Specialty Crop funds to produce a professional DVD that will contain
the fundamentals of our Retail Care, Handling and Merchandising seminars and can be used as a
reference for retailers and produce staff. In addition funds are requested to provide seminars to key
retailers in at least 4 emerging markets (tentatively identified as China, India, Vietnam and Egypt) in
produce department layout design and produce handling. This is the third and final year of the retail
training project, which has been very well received by retailers throughout the world. Once again the
participating commissions would be Washington Apple Commission, Northwest Pear Bureau, Northwest
Cherry Growers and Washington Potato Commission. The overall goal of the Layout Design and
produce handling training is to increase annual sales of our products to participating retailers by 10%
through increasing their profitability/reducing the risk on our products as well as leveraging the goodwill
generated by the value-added benefits provided by the training. Apples, pears and cherries are impulse
items that benefit greatly from good care and handling practices and attractive displays. Potatoes need to
be handled correctly in order to minimize the risk of greening and resulting wastage.
Organization: Washington Wine Industry Foundation
Project: Washington State Clean Plant Campaign
Award: $248,750

SPECIALTY CROP GRANT AWARDS 2011


Abstract: This research and education project will: A.) conduct a statewide survey of grapevine plants in
certified nurseries, detect and analyze for diseases (new viral diseases have been found in previously
assumed clean nurseries), and B.) conduct a statewide disease prevention campaign to alert stakeholders
to the significant damage these diseases have on their business and to the Washington grape and wine
industry.
Annually the grape and wine industry contributes more than $3 billion to the state economy and $4.7
billion to the national economy. Grapevine disease, spread by propagation of infected cuttings as well as
pests, is a major threat and constraint to the health and long-term sustainability of the industry and a threat
to the states only reliable source of clean plants: nurseries.
Organization: Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance
Project: Improving Access and Effectiveness for Producers through On-site Specialty Crop Events
Award: $69,619
Abstract: The Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance facilitated over $7 million in sales to farmers in
2010, and provides the largest source of farm-direct Washington produced food in Seattle. In order to
serve and grow our shopper base to increase farm sales, in 2012 and onward we will focus on producing
on-site specialty crop events, and reaching out to low income shoppers. These two areas of focus will
allow us to reach out to new customers in effective ways, educate consumers about specialty crops once
theyve arrived at the markets, and increase food access in lower income communities. Our goal is to
increase specialty crop sales by $350,000, which would be a 63% return on this investment overall, and a
79% return for the grant, with continuing gains into the future.
Organization: Washington State Fruit Commission (WSFC)
Project: Celebrity Chef Fruit Promotion Road Show in Indonesia
Award: $100,000
Abstract: WSFC is requesting WSDA Specialty Crop Block funds to create a PR event that will build
consumer awareness and increase product distribution in Indonesia, an emerging market with immediate
potential of increased sales opportunities. Increasing the export market base is imperative for the
Washington cherry, apple and pear growers for positive ROI. Participating industry organizations would
include the Washington State Fruit Commission, the Washington Apple Commission and the Northwest
Pear Bureau. This activity would build on the concept of driving consumer awareness through
promoting our fruit in cooking recipes and demonstrations done by Celebrity Chefs. As cooking and
culinary excellence gains mainstream interest throughout the world the concept of Celebrity chefs
representing Washington state tree fruit is both timely and relevant. Retailers, wanting to host these
celebrities in their stores, will be required to sponsor their own in-store Fruit Fair with large displays,
specialized POS, and sampling. This project will have two goals: 1) a 25% increase in volume and value
over prior year, and 2) a 15% increase in consumption when used as a recipe ingredient, thus, expanding
from the traditional usage as a fresh snack.

SPECIALTY CROP GRANT AWARDS 2011


Organization: WSDA Food Safety & Consumer Services
Project: Improving Access to Institutional Markets for Specialty Crop Producers by Reducing
Regulatory Barriers
Award: $112,957

Abstract: Building on current grant-funded work to reduce regulatory barriers and improve confidence
in farm-to-institution marketplaces for buyers and sellers, WSDA will:
1. Educate school buyers on current regulatory requirements at state and federal level for geographic
preference of Washington-grown specialty crops and pilot sample bid language in 2-3 school
districts
2. Educate Washington-based food processors about school meal market opportunities and recent
federal nutrition standards, and encourage sourcing of Washington specialty crops as ingredients
in new products development for schools
3. Expand online foodservice toolkit to add self-assessment materials, equipment recommendations,
and menus and recipes that meet standards for schools, childcare and senior meal programs, to
support buyers to incorporate Washington Grown specialty crops into their programs
Benefits to Specialty Crop Producers will be a 10% increase in assisted sales, achieved through education
of buyers and sellers about realities and navigation of a complex and recently changing regulatory
environment.
Organization: WSDA Food Safety & Consumer Services
Project: Regulations and Strategies for Direct Marketing Specialty Crop Businesses in Washington State
Award: $163,940
Abstract: WSDA will create 8 specialty crop fact sheets for the WSDA Small Farm and Direct
Marketing Handbook (over 2,000 hardcopies were distributed last year) that cover new trends in smallscale specialty crop production. Fact sheets will cover topics such as new food safety regulations for
CSAs, regulations for businesses conducting on-farm educational workshops, nut processing, agriculinary tourism, nursery products, seed sales, and distilleries. Updates will also be made to existing fact
sheets and the online Handbook will be built into a client-friendly web toolkit featuring concrete
examples of excellent marketing and regulatory compliance via photo examples and embedded videos
that exemplify best practices.
With this dynamic, web-based technology, WSDA will increase efficiencies and expand information for
assisting specialty crop farmers, processors, food companies, and buyers in search of regulations and
marketing support for new, innovative areas of specialty crop business development.
Benefits to cutting edge Specialty Crop Producers will be increased knowledge of successful direct
marketing, product regulations, and increased sales.
Organization: WSDA Fruit & Vegetable Inspection Program and Food Safety & Consumer Services
Project: Bridging the GAPs: Opening Markets for Small, Mid-sized, and Diversified Farms through
GAP/GHP Education for Farmers and Auditors
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SPECIALTY CROP GRANT AWARDS 2011


Award: $245,537
Abstract: Specialty Crop growers are challenged with a new market barrier that requires food safety
audits. Buyers and consumers want verification that growers have measures in place to minimize the risk
of microbial contamination in their products even before a new Produce Safety regulation is finalized by
the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). By creating a cross departmental team, the agency can bridge
this gap by working both sides of the equation. This team will develop and provide both resources and
tools to WSDA auditors and effective education for small to mid-sized farms about GAP/GHP (Good
Agriculture/Good Handling Practice) requirements that will help them meet the standards in a way that is
logistically and financially feasible. With many different options available, this project focuses on two
leading audit standards that best support Washingtons specialty crop producers: USDA GAP/GHP and
Harmonized GAP Standard.