Onion Research Grants
US Onion growers create about a 1 billion dollar farmgate each year. And according to the National Onion Association bacterial rot amounts to a loss of 16 to 60 million dollars each year.
24 researchers from 12 states and South Africa, are taking on these crop-destroying bugs, armed with more than 4 million in federal funding, and a matching 4 million from onion growers and research universities.
The Onion Association's Public and Industry Relations Director Renee Harwick says an important aspect of this research will be on the use of cultural practices such as modifying irrigation methods. The project will also identify ways of screening for resistance in onion varieties to develop stronger cultivars.
" The unique part of this is that onions grow differently throughout the country because the climate changes and the soils are different."
Researchers were notified in January that the proposal was accepted for submission of a full grant, but only then did they learn of the new reinstatement of a requirement for a 100 percent match in funding, under the new Farm Bill. The researchers had just three months to figure out how to come up with at least $4 million in funding to match the federal funds.
Through In kind donations of farming and implement costs as well as professors' and staff and student salaries , they were able to come up with it. About $2 million of that came from growers alone.
One of the Principle Investigators in the project is Mark Uchanski, of Colorado State University;
Colorado is in the top ten nationally for onion production. State growers harvest more than 4,100 acres of onions each year, producing 166 million pounds.