Texas A&M nets more Walmart funds for sustainable strawberry work - The Packer

Texas A&M nets more Walmart funds for sustainable strawberry work

06/18/2014 02:29:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

Daniel LeskovarVicky BoydDaniel Leskovar, a plant physiologist at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Uvalde, is part of the Texas strawberry team. The group's work involves developing a system that would allow growers to produce a crop under high tunnels using plasticulture.Texas A&M University has received additional funding from the Walmart Foundation to continue its work to develop a local strawberry production system and market.

The project, led by the Texas Strawberry Team, received an additional $92,267 and was one of six recipients during the second round of grants, according to a news release. During the first round, the project received $158,391.

"Our Phase II project will add new growers willing to give strawberries a try on a small scale, and will also connect AgriLife Extension horticulture agents with growers in their counties to enable both the growers and the agent to gain experience growing strawberries,” Russ Wallace, a Lubbock-based associate professor and Extension vegetable specialist who leads the team, said in the release.

“In addition to the strawberry production and marketing training for county agents and growers, we will also follow and survey the growers on their own marketing and sales techniques to help us understand better how to improve strawberry profitability and sustainability in the state.”

The Texas research involves high-tunnel production and plastic mulch-applications on the beds.

High tunnels, similar to unheated greenhouses, help extend the production season and protect the plants from cold snaps.

Plastic mulch, part of a plasticulture system, helps reduce weeds, retain moisture and warm the soil.

You can follow the Texas A&M AgriLife effort on Facebook. You don't need to be a Facebook member to view the page.

The National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative was funded by a $3 million donation fromm the Walmart Foundation and is administered by the University of Arkansas.

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