Pollinator Protection in the Green Industry a Focus in USDA NIFA Grant Allocation
Saturday, August 6, 2016
Posted by: Jennifer Addington
Pollinator Protection in the
Industry a Focus in USDA NIFA Grant
WASHINGTON, DC and COLUMBUS,
OH-August 4, 2016-Over $2.8 million was awarded towards pollinator protection
in ornamental horticulture through the USDA National Institute of Food and
Agriculture (NIFA) Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI). The funds will be
distributed over a period of two years, with additional funds available over a
total five year period, to a collaboration of researchers facilitated by Dr.
Cristi Palmer, IR-4 Project.
The research will further define pollinator attractiveness of landscape
plants to help increase the supply of nutritious forage for bees and to
identify key plants for targeted integrated pest management approaches to
reduce pesticide risk to bees. Pesticide residue analysis will also be
A significant effort will be devoted to determine consumer
preference of plant labeling, education, and development of pollinator
protective language. Bumble bees and native bees will be the focus, since
managed honey bees are rarely, if ever, utilized in the green industry. The
results will directly benefit nursery and greenhouse growers, the landscape
industry, garden centers, and consumers.
"AmericanHort and HRI see this project as critical toward
providing our industry the guidance it needs to produce and maintain healthy
plants and landscapes while also sustaining and improving the health of
pollinators," said Craig Regelbrugge, Senior Vice President, AmericanHort.
In 2015, the Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) dedicated
$161,000 to five research projects as part of the Grow Wise, Bee Smart
pollinator stewardship initiative. The research generated the preliminary data
needed to shape and justify the SCRI grant objectives, and these scientists are
key members of this large collaboration.
NIFA funded 19 projects, a total of $36.5 million, as part of the 2014 Farm
Bill's Specialty Crop Research Initiative. Other funded projects HRI sees as
important for our industry include a workshop to identify knowledge gaps for
downy mildew on horticultural crops, also facilitated by the IR-4 Project, and
brown marmorated stink bug management in specialty crops at North Carolina