Thirteen projects are funded statewide from the federally funded Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
NDA NEWS — The Nevada Department of Agriculture today announced awards for 13 crop projects around the state that promote and enhance specialty crops through education, research, marketing and production.
“The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is a critical way to experiment with and promote crops throughout the state,” said Jim Barbee, director of the Department. “We are grateful for the funding from the USDA to enhance competitiveness amongNevada’s specialty crop industry.
Specialty crops are defined as “fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruites, horticulture and nursery crops including floriculture.”
Funded projects for 2013 include:
- Nevada Vines and Wines grape growing and wine making with the University of Nevada, Reno
- Eastern Nevada Food Bank, 4H and FFA hydroponic laboratory program
- Lyon County University Extension hoop house vegetable and fruit production
- NevadaGrown consumer awareness and sales of Nevada specialty crops
- Hops research project with Urban Roots, UNR College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources,University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and High Desert Farming Initiative.
Nevada looks for projects that promote and enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops by increasing knowledge and consumption of specialty crops, improving distribution systems, enhancing produce safety, eradicating pest and plant health issues, specialty crop research and developing new and improved crop varieties.
FUNDED PROJECTS FOR 2013
Nevada Department of Agriculture
The Nevada Department of Agriculture will continue to offer the pilot Farmer Assistance Program which encourages small farms to adopt Good Agriculture Practices (GAP). The project will compliment the previous project goals by providing assistance and management to continue to helping farmers adopt safe growing practices in a feasible and affordable way.
Nevada Department of Agriculture
The Nevada Department of Agriculture is seeking to enhance the competiveness of specialty crops state-wide by offering a pilot export promotion program that will encourage specialty crop businesses, to export specialty crop products. The assistance will be through a cost-share that will help small farmers have access to opportunities in the export market. The NDA will support Nevada specialty crop businesses by off-setting a fee to pay for the Export Tech program which assists businesses in the development of international business plans, market research, matchmaking meetings, and other export promotion activities for specialty crops.
Nevada Vines and Wines (NV&W)
The Main Station Farm Vineyard (MSFV) is a joint project of NV&W and the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources (CABNR) at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) designed to demonstrate the potential of wine making in this region. The project will plant and raise 1800 Riesling Grape Vines in addition to various red vine varieties. Vines will be grown to marketable yields, demonstrate frost protection techniques for Nevada’s climate, make commercially salable wines, and analyze the profitability. The project results and outcomes will be shared with interested stakeholders.
Eastern Nevada Food Bank 4H/FFA Hydroponic Laboratory Program
Eastern Nevada Food Bank 4H/FFA Hydroponic Laboratory Program will work with White Pine University Extension to focus on developing agricultural hydroponic systems and agricultural based education within the school facilities to promote specialty crop development with advanced agricultural growing techniques and new system applications. The project will create youth interest in agricultural farming, while addressing Child Obesity, Nutrition Awareness and Food Desert issues in the community.
Urban Roots Classrooms
Urban Roots Classrooms will work to create the Young Farmers & Farm Stands
Initiative: a cross‐curricular project that will establish school “Farm Clubs,” develop an “Adopt-a-School” program for area farmers, assist schools in developing student operated farm stands and CSAs, and provide comprehensive curriculum development workshops for teachers. The project is a hands-on learning experience that will introduce students to agriculture as a career. This project will be piloted at the Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology (AACT) in Reno. The results of this project will develop a comprehensive model that will be available for adoption by other schools in Washoe County. It will provide interdisciplinary curriculum education of specialty crops to the high school student population.
The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) Youth Education on Specialty Crop Consumption, Production, and Local Farmers Project
This project will provide education in schools on specialty crop growth, nutrition, and farming to encourage more consumption of fruits and vegetables. A series of classes will be provided to Nevada schools to help children and their families identify local farmers, nutritional benefits of consuming specialty crops, and how these crops are grown.
Lammel & Bake Urban Farms
Lammel & Bake Urban Farms will enhance the competitiveness of Nevada specialty crops by demonstrating the viability of small-scale, year-round sustainable gardening
methods of specialty crops in an urban setting. The production setup will allow growers to expand the growing season to year round. This program will educate producers and will provide a model that will encourage individuals in urban areas to create their own Urban Organic Farm, which will increase knowledge, sales, and consumption of Nevada specialty crops.
NevadaGrown will increase consumer awareness and sales of Nevada specialty crops by identifying and establishing a bank of information on Nevada specialty crops and producers; promoting Nevada-grown specialty crops and producers through media outlets and attendance at special events; and creating a seasonal eating chart showing Nevada specialty crops.
Gardnerville Main Street Program Corporation
Gardnerville Main Street Program Corporation will establish a community supported educational garden at the Heritage ParkGardens to teach youth and parents about the health benefits of consuming fresh, locally grown produce
Carson City Harvest Hub
The Carson City Harvest Hub intends to provide food insecure children and families with healthy, organic, locally grown food. Additionally, the Hub will be open to the general public to provide Carson City residents with easier access to products that are good for their family, the environment, and their community. Through this project, the Harvest Hub will specifically enhance the competitiveness of Specialty Crops in Nevada through outreach, increasing consumption, access, and education.
Through collaboration among Urban Roots, the University of Nevada’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology, and Natural Resources (CABNR), the Cooperative Extension (UNCE) and High Desert Farming Initiative (HDFI), a hops research project at the University Main Station Field Lab (MSFL) in east Reno will be conducted to identify hops varieties that will thrive in Nevada’s high desert ecology and yield highly desirable qualities for Nevada brewers. The results of this study will provide Nevada farmers with reliable data (production, maintenance, harvesting, selling, etc.) that will encourage and guide producers to grow hops successfully, thereby advancing the economic impact of specialty crops in Nevada.
Together the University of Nevada Reno (UNR) High Desert Farming Initiative (HDFI) Collaborative project between the Colleges of Business (COB), Agriculture,
Biotechnology and Natural Resources (CABNR), Nevada farmers, and community
Groups will use the HDFI facilities to test the high desert, hoop house potential of Salanova lettuce, a patented differentiated lettuce variety that produces leaf lettuce on a head lettuce core. This will evaluate the labor savings and differences in yields of Salanova lettuce compared to the known production of common lettuce varieties. The project will also measure consumer acceptance of this new specialty crop. The HDFI will conduct a field day open to rural and urban farmers to demonstrate growing, harvesting, packaging, and sales methods. Project findings will be presented at the 2015 Nevada Small Farm Conference. The efficiency gains or losses for high-value seeds will be analyzed in addition to equipment versus yield gains, labor savings, and premium potential. Analytical results will be available in fact sheets for wide distribution.
Lyon County University Extension (UNCE)
Vegetable and fruit production in Nevada can be difficult, as pest insects, rodents, fluctuating temperatures and dryness put stress on plants. Hoop houses can alleviate plant stressors and extend growing seasons. UNCE will conduct a study on cold crop production in a hoop house while educating and demonstrating to the public about how to grow crops during the early winter through springtime using a hoop house. In addition schoolchildren will be educated about the nutritional value of these crops grown during the project.