Perhaps the most important activity undertaken by CSANR each year is the selection of new BIOAg projects to fund. The goal of the BIOAg competitive grant program is to engage a broad, interdisciplinary spectrum of WSU faculty in projects that further the development, understanding, and use of biologically-intensive and/or organic principles, practices, and technologies to improve the sustainability of agriculture and food systems in Washington State. We select projects that meet one of three objectives: to stimulate new research initiatives, to augment critical gaps in existing areas of knowledge, and to move existing, game-changing research out into the real world.
The CSANR Advisory Committee, comprised of leaders in sustainable and organic agriculture in Washington State, help our Faculty Leadership Team refine funding priorities for BIOAg on an annual basis and also serve as part of a very competitive review process to select successful proposals. This helps to ensure that we are selecting projects that are both “good science” and “relevant science” to issues and concerns in the state. To date, CSANR has funded more than 125 projects, many of which have led to large, federally-funded research initiatives and specific research findings that have been implemented here in the state. More information on all funded projects can be found in our Grants Database.
This year we selected ten new projects that range in scope from lab and field studies to economic and social aspects of food systems to nutrition, food safety and rangeland management. The projects are a nice blend of near-term and long-term investments in improving agricultural sustainability across a number of different food and ag systems relevant to the state. Eight of the ten studies will result in findings that are directly applicable to organic food and farming systems. Nearly half of the scientists selected for funding this year are new to CSANR! Here are the titles of FY13 BIOAg projects.
- Development of Washington Organic Producer-Level Database on Crop Yields, Sales Value, and Price
- Understanding the molecular basis of phytonutrient composition differences in organic tomatoes via quantitative transcriptome analysis
- Rangeland livestock production sustains the agriculture/wildland interface: An integrated research and extension program
- Vineyard evaluation of five beneficial insect-attracting native plant ground covers as a strategy to improve and sustain IPM in wine grapes
- Production Cost Estimation of Establishing a Cider Apple Orchard in Washington State
- Using the BioIntensive Technique of Intercropping Teff (Eragrostis tef) into Timothy to Improve the Economic Sustainability of Timothy
- Agroecological Assessment of Farming in the Rural-Urban Interface: Building Resiliency in Regional Food Systems
- Sustainable Sanitation Technique for Postharvest Quality and Safety of Organic Fruits
- Sequencing the genomes of two critically-important biological control agents, the insect-killing nematodes Steinernema feltiae and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora
- Role of flavins in the resistance of Sinorhizobium meliloti – alfalfa association to Aphanomyces root rot