Publicly funded research has elevated the U.S. agricultural system to its current position as one of the most productive in the world. For the apple industry, research and extension activities supported by the Agriculture Department enable introduction of new cultivars, implementation of improved pest management strategies, development of more sustainable production practices and science-based improvement of food safety.
USApple strongly supports funding for key USDA programs:
- The Specialty Crop Research Initiative– The critical value of the SCRI can be illustrated by two of the many important research efforts; 1) the Spotted Lanternfly Project and, 2) the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Project that have prevented the loss of tens of millions of dollars of specialty crops. Specific projects with multi-state and multi-institutional impact include development of new Integrated Pest Management practices to enhance workplace safety and reduce environmental impact (Calif., Mich., Ore., Utah, Wash.), and application of modern genomics and genetic technologies to create apple cultivars with consumer-preferred traits (Ark., Calif., Fla., Mich., Minn., N.Y., Texas, S.C., Wash.).
- USDA-Geneva Apple Rootstock Breeding Program – Consumers and growers nationwide benefit greatly from improved disease resistance and increased productivity provided by new rootstock varieties. Research is being conducted in the following states – Calif., Idaho, Maine, Mass., Md., Mich., N.C., N.J., N.Y., Ohio, Ore., Pa., Utah, Va., W.Va and Wash.
- The National Clean Plant Network – The National Clean Plant Network (NCPN) was created to protect U.S. specialty crops, including apples, from the spread of economically harmful plant pests and diseases. The tree fruit, grape, and nursery industries rely on the NCPN as the single, nationally-certified source of plant material free of potentially devastating diseases.