Planning for a Phase II SCRI grant proposal on ‘Utilization and Versatility of Biodegradable Agricultural Materials in Specialty Crop Production’

The Phase II SCRI project would address important questions raised by the first project, including: opportunities for new feedstocks and formulations for mulches; biodegradability of materials in soil and other environments; versatility for diverse uses in agriculture (annual/perennial crops, mulches, row covers, disease and pest mitigation); and enhanced disposal in soil, composting, and anaerobic digestion systems. These topic areas are the direct result of discoveries and/or questions raised by the first project, and align well with the CSANR priority area ‘Biologically intensive and organic approaches to sustainable management – mulches can reduce pesticide use and biodegradable materials resolve important disposal problems and environmental pollution; and, ‘Innovation and diversification’ – biodegradable materials are innovative, and present many new and creative opportunities for expanded applications in agriculture. The purpose of this request is to assemble a new team of PIs in order to define the scope and research questions for a new project and begin planning and work assignments for a 2012 proposal submission. Based on our previous experience in 2009, SCRI proposals take considerable preparation, time, effort, and coordination to assemble, and an initial face-to-face meeting among potential key participants is necessary to initiate a new project successfully.

Grant Information

  • Project ID: 116
  • Project Status: Complete



Additional Funds Leveraged

A planning grant has been secured from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville to convene the full project team in September 2013. This meeting will be used to finalize the SCRI-CAPs proposal, and this proposal will be submitted in the next call for funding.  UPDATE: FUNDED –

Hayes, D., A. Wszelaki, J. DeBruyn, E. Belasco, C. Benedict, J. Cowan, M. Flury, J. M. Fly, S. Galinato, J. Goldberger, D. Inglis, T. Marsh, C. Miles, A. Saxton, P. Tozer, M. Velandia, L. Wadsworth. 2014. Biodegradable plastic mulch for sustainable specialty crop production. NIFA SCRI $4,884,785 total ($470,764 Miles program)


Short‐Term: A team has been convened for a new SCRI‐CAPs proposal. The team will meet in Knoxville to complete writing the grant proposal.

Intermediate‐Term: A new SCRI‐CAPs proposal will be submitted in the next funding cycle. The new project will assess agricultural, ecological, economic and sociological consequences of using both currently available and new formulations of biodegradable plastics in specialty crop production
systems. Agricultural producers and manufacturers throughout the U.S. will benefit from new information generated from this grant project.

Long‐Term: The agricultural plastics waste stream will be reduced due to new biodegradable plastics and evaluation methodologies developed from this project. New opportunities to use and safely dispose of biodegradable materials will be established.