Wolf Administration Funds $2 Million in Research to Grow PA Agriculture Industry

CapitolCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

HARRISBURG, PA — Governor Tom Wolf announced this week grants totaling more than $2 million to seven Pennsylvania organizations for research on issues critical to sustaining and growing the state’s agriculture industry. Grant recipients include Delaware Valley University, Pennsylvania State University, Rodale Institute, Team Ag, Inc, Temple University, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and Western Pennsylvania Nature Conservancy.

“This investment is one for the future – it’s $2 million invested in research to protect the harvests of our farmers, research to guide farmers in sustainable agriculture practices that ensure our natural resources are available tomorrow, and research to ensure that food is always available, accessible and affordable,” said Gov. Wolf. “Agriculture, and its successful future, will always be a priority for Pennsylvania.”

The grants focus on a broad range of research topics including protecting pollinators, safely controlling spotted lanternfly and other invasive species, developing new animal and plant disease detection and control, and improving soil and water quality and sustainability through regenerative farming.

“Keeping pace with rapid changes in climate and technology and sustaining growth in Pennsylvania’s $132.5 billion agriculture industry demands investment in research and development,” said Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding. “These investments spur innovations that increase productivity; advance human and animal medicine; and produce cleaner water, healthier soil and a safer food supply.”

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Grantees, project titles and award amounts are listed below:

Delaware Valley University, Doylestown, Bucks Co.

  • Plant Breeding for Pennsylvania: Tomatoes, Peppers and Understanding Statewide Need – $59,665

Pennsylvania State University, State College, Centre Co.

  • Ag Resource Centers – Spotted lanternfly control in nursery and landscaping, and in grape and specialty crops, especially in the Erie region – $300,000
  • Center for Agricultural Law – $175,000
  • Mitigating impact of mushroom phorid fly populations through novel on-farm control techniques – $108,351
  • RNA spray-induced gene silencing of Delta-9-THC – $60,000
  • Strategies to enhance pesticide effectiveness in pre- and post-harvest management of Botrytis mold – $121,342
  • Genetic characterization of small ruminant pestiviruses – $26,089
  • Development of a multiplex qPCR panel for bovine respiratory viruses – $36,506
  • Genome characterization and persistence studies on avian coronavirus variants occurred in PA – $49,762
  • Modulating inflammation during the peri-parturient period: enhancing health on high-risk dairy cows – $27,108
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Rodale Institute, Kutztown, Berks Co.

  • Organic and regenerative methods exploring links between soil health and human health; addressing climate change, nutrient density and water pollution – $500,000
  • Impact of pesticides on soil and vegetables grown in organic and conventional systems – $127,887

Team Ag, Inc., Ephrata, Lancaster Co.

  • Connecting capital with Pennsylvania farmers using regenerative farming practices to draw down carbon – $90,000

Temple University, Philadelphia

  • Role of invasive plants on Lyme disease and other tick-vectored pathogens – $80,023
  • Changes in wild pollinator populations with the availability of a spotted lanternfly honeydew – $39,807
  • Furthering computational approaches to model the spotted lanternfly invasion and economic impacts– $99,096

University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Philadelphia

  • Advancing PA Swine Farmers: Understanding and addressing public perceptions about sow housing – $53,883
  • Origins of the piglet gut microbiome – $41,649
  • Understanding the role of the microbiome-gut-brain axis to improve the health and welfare of dairy cattle – $34,500
  • The effect of dietary zinc on c. difficile colonization and pathogenesis in neonatal piglets and dairy calves – $21,275
  • Development of a noninfectious training tool to train detection dogs to recognize the odor of chronic wasting disease – $40,744
  • Evaluation of various storage techniques on colostrum quality and immunoglobulin function – $22,631
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Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Pittsburgh, Allegheny Co.

  • Bees of barrens and at-risk butterflies – $30,667

Find more information on grant funding to support the sustainability and growth of Pennsylvania Agriculture at agriculture.pa.gov/funding.

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