Jordan, T. N.
WEST LAFAYETTE,IN 47907
Non Technical Summary
The proposed Purdue University Specialty Crop Research, Extension, and Teaching Center will enhance Indiana's economy, quality of life, and environment. Investment in specialty crop research, education, and marketing is critical for the maintenance and expansion of these crops as a vital component of Indiana agriculture, particularly, in the southwestern part of the state, which has unique agroecological characteristics for growing specialty crops. Additionally, such investments will serve as an engine for economic growth by generating new opportunities, diversifying production systems, reducing impacts of production practices on the environment and improving the nutritional quality of diets. Specialty crops grown in Indiana include a variety of horticultural crops such as fruits and nuts, vegetables, ornamentals and organic agronomic crops, including new crops such as botanicals and medicinals. Importantly, the geographic and climatic conditions in southwest Indiana make it ideal for fruit and vegetable production as well as greenhouse production of nursery crops. Expanded capacity there would fill a production niche between crops grown in Florida and Arizona from the south and Wisconsin and Michigan from the north. Furthermore, approximately 40% of the nation's population lives within a 500-mile radius of Vincennes and Evansville, making same-day distribution of fresh produce and floricultural crops feasible. With an increase in specialty crop production, there will be a need for a well-educated, technically savvy workforce. Purdue University has had a long partnership with Vincennes University, and together the two institutions could offer degrees, courses, and training to prepare students to enter the workforce, thereby enhancing economic development and jobs creation in the region. Purdue University has a long-term presence in southwest Indiana with its Southwest Purdue Agricultural Center (SWPAC) located at Vincennes. This Center has maintained two to three research and Extension staff who have supported the fruit and vegetable industry, primarily melons and stone fruit. They have also worked with Vincennes University's agriculture program to teach courses and to train students at SWPAC in production management practices. The opportunities to promote production, processing and marketing of specialty crops in southwest Indiana have only been met partially, and the potential for enhancement of such efforts is tremendous, with its concomitant significant impact on the economy of the region. The emphasis on specialty crops and local production will become even more important as increasing energy costs limit availability of affordable and fresh produce from distant locations. Expanding the capacity of the SWPAC will serve as the research and extension engine that will drive the growth of specialty crop production in southwest Indiana, while the processing and marketing of specialty crops will greatly increase the overall economic growth of the region.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories
604 - Marketing and Distribution Practices; 205 - Plant Management Systems; 204 - Plant Product Quality and Utility (Preharvest);
Subject Of Investigation
2410 - Cross-commodity research--multiple crops;
Field Of Science
3010 - Economics; 1130 - Entomology and acarology; 1160 - Pathology;
fresh market vegetables
Goals / Objectives
The Special Grant will be used to assist the initiation of specialty crops research at SWPAC. The research program will be integral to a comprehensive program of research, teaching, and extension at SWPAC focusing on specialty crops. Creation of the Specialty Crop Research, Extension, and Teaching Center would require expanding the staffing and physical facilities of the existing SWPAC to include additional personnel in production, processing and marketing of specialty crops, and working with the private/public sector to promote southwestern grown produce and floriculture products and develop a unique industry that can reach markets in most of the eastern United States. Our short term vision is to establish a network of Purdue and Vincennes faculty and private/public collaborators to enhance the opportunities to produce and promote specialty crops in southwest Indiana. At present, this area of Indiana is noted for its melon and stone fruit production. There is an opportunity for growth in vegetable, and greenhouse production as well as the wine grape industry. The Specialty Crops Center will start with these crops and offer additional educational opportunities to students at Vincennes and to producers and their employees. From a research and perspective, the center will address production needs, and also offer entrepreneurial help to potential producers and processors with business plans, feasibility studies and marketing tools. Our long term vision is to create a world class center for specialty crop research, teaching and extension that expands the production, processing, and marketing of specialty crops that greatly enhances the economic opportunities for this region. It will require enhancing the existing physical facilities and infrastructure and staffing. Ultimately, the center will have a staff of 8 to 10 individuals, along with support staff and county educators, who will work with the on-campus faculty at Purdue and those at Vincennes to address the production, processing, marketing and educational needs of this sector of agriculture. The center will also develop courses and training in partnership with Vincennes University for students and others in the region to allow them to enter the local workforce and grow the industry within the region, rather than leave the state and promote this industry elsewhere. We expect that the partnership between Purdue and Vincennes will result in not only a closer working relationship to address the problems relevant to the region, but also result in creating a Â¿feederÂ¿ program for Vincennes students to be admitted for studies at Purdue in West Lafayette. Finally, the expanded staff and facility would afford local citizens better excess to Purdue UniversityÂ¿s resources and specialists to assist them with their business planning and marketing needs as well as technical assistance with the manufacturing needs.
Our short-term approach is to establish a network of Purdue and Vincennes faculty and private and public collaborators to enhance the opportunities to produce and promote specialty crops in southwest Indiana. At present, this area of Indiana is noted for its melon and stone fruit production. There is an opportunity for growth in vegetable and greenhouse production as well as the wine grape industry. The Specialty Crops Center will start with these crops and offer additional educational opportunities to students at Vincennes and to producers and their employees. The Center will address production needs, from both research and extension perspectives, and will also offer entrepreneurial help to potential producers and processors with business plans, feasibility studies and marketing tools. The first year of this project will be devoted to the development of infrastructure and the hiring of appropriate personnel. Physical facilities will be upgraded with new greenhouse lighting, and two high-tunnel greenhouse structures will be constructed. The Specialty Crops Production Specialist will purchase minor equipment to setup the laboratory to begin research efforts. Several new research and Extension positions will be added to the Specialty Crops Plant Pathology position presently at the research center, including: a Specialty Crops Production Specialist, a Master's level graduate student, and a field assistant. Additionally, a Specialty Crops Breeding and Genetics position, a Specialty Crops Entomologist position, and a Specialty Crops Production position recently have been created at the West Lafayette campus. These individuals will work with the staff at SWPAC. The College of Agriculture will request that the research and Extension effort at the SWPAC be named an official University Research and Extension Center for Specialty Crops. During the second year, field and laboratory research will be underway to address the local production needs of the specialty crops grown in southwestern Indiana, primarily melons, apples, stone fruit, grapes, and fresh market vegetables. The Vegetable Marketing Economist will conduct a marketing analysis of the potential for specialty crop growth in the area for both wholesale and local marketing. The Purdue Extension Small Farms and Sustainable Agricultural Team and the Extension Entrepreneurial Team, both working with the staff at Vincennes University will conduct outreach programs in specialty crops production, processing and marketing of local grown specialty crops. During the third year, the Specialty Crops Center will be fully staffed, and research and Extension outreach programs will be ongoing. The collaborative efforts of the SWPAC Specialty Crops Center and Vincennes University will be offering help with production needs as well as business plans and feasibility studies. Vincennes University students will be offered classes in specialty crop production and marketing.