On Wednesday, the National Onion Association announced it had been awarded $4 million from the USDA Specialty Crops Research Initiative to combat bacterial disease. NOA’s Rene Hardwick said the funds will be used to help 24 researchers in 12 different states, in an effort to stop rot, which she pointed out can hit onions in any stage of the game.
“So, there’s going to be a lot of experimentation of what works, what doesn’t work, and then they’re going to collaborate together, to come up with, hopefully, some management tools, to combat this problem of bacterial rot.”
Hardwick said in addition to the Specialty Crops Money, NOA received $4.2 million in matching funds from onion growers, universities and seed companies.
“Growers are a part of this solution, they are actively at the table, they have skin in the game and they are going to be working hand in hand with researchers across the country to make sure it works,” Hardwick added. “They are pretty ingenious when it comes to innovations and solutions. So we’re going to rely on them heavily.”
Currently, onion growers do not have highly effective bactericides that will eliminate bacterial diseases such as rot. It’s estimated that rot costs the onion industry $16 million annually.
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