AgriLife Extension part of three year nearly $250,000 grant

In Southwest Farm Press

by Steve Byrnes

A passion for helping limited-resource strawberry producers become successful has again paid off for a team headed by a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horticulturist at Lubbock.

Dr. Russ Wallace was notified in late February that the project, “Evaluating Organic Pest Control Products for Strawberries in Combination with High and Low Tunnels for Limited Resource Farmers in the Mid-South” was awarded $246,413 for research and education purposes from Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.

Wallace said the project is a collaborative effort among AgriLife Extension, the lead institution, Prairie View A&M University, University of Arkansas, Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and five participating strawberry growers in Arkansas and Texas.

Wallace’s group was also the recipient of an earlier grant to research high tunnels that helped introduce the technique to a wide audience across Texas. New interest in high tunnels stems from their research supported the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service High Tunnel Seasonal Initiative Cost-Share Program in Texas.

The Quonset hut-style structures allow crops to be planted directly in the ground underneath plastic covers where they are protected from the elements. Aside from protecting the delicate fruit, this also allows growers to hit the earlier more lucrative strawberry market, Wallace said.

Low tunnels, Wallace explained, are miniature knee-high row cover versions of the much larger high tunnels.

Read the rest of the story at Southwest Farm Press.

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