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Pulse Crop Research Proposals Being Sought

The Pulse Crop Health Initiative has announced the opening of its current funding cycle, seeking submissions for research proposals for fiscal year 2021 funding. PCHI is a special project, funded through the Farm Bill, with approximately $4.3 million available in grants for FY 21. Most projects funded are at the level of $60,000 to $100,000 (per institution on a project). 

The goal of PCHI is to rely on research conducted through the various funded projects on pulse crops (dry peas, lentils, chickpeas, and dry beans) to “provide solutions to the critical health and sustainability challenges facing the citizens of the United States and the global community. “

Research should be focused on any/all of the following research areas:

  1. Human Health Improvement & Chronic Disease Prevention
  2. Functionality Traits & Food Security
  3. Sustainability of Pulse Production Systems

The deadline for submitting the application packet is May 14. Plans of work will be reviewed by an independent scientific panel and rankings will be discussed with the Steering Committee before final decisions are made.

For additional contact Michael A. Grusak, Center Director, USDA-ARS Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center at 701-239-1371 or mike.grusak@usda.gov. 

Specialty Crop Block Grants Awarded for Dry Bean Research

The North Dakota Department of Agriculture has awarded 24 grants totaling more than $2.7 million to promote the development, cultivation, production and sales of specialty crops. North Dakota State University will receive:
  • $81,767 to study the optimization of fungicide timing, row spacing and winter rye for improved Sclerotinia management in dry beans.
  • $202,040 for increasing breeding efficiencies in dry bean by using improved selection tools for cultivar development.
The Agriculture Department received 48 applications for grants, which were reviewed and scored by a select committee and approved by Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. Of the 48 applications, 24 were forwarded to U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service for final approval.

Dry Bean Bacterial Wilt Pathogen Can Be Different Colors

By Robert Harveson, University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension Plant Pathologist

Bacterial wilt of dry beans, caused by Curtobacterium flaccufaciens pv. flaccumfaciens (Cff), has historically posed sporadic but often serious production problems in dry beans throughout the irrigated High Plains since its first report from South Dakota in 1922. In the early 1980s, the disease mysteriously disappeared, appearing only periodically on cull seeds at the processing plants, but with little economic damage.

However, the disease appeared again in two great northern dry bean fields in late August 2003 in the Gering Valley, shortly before harvest. I took dozens of pictures, assuming that I would never see it again. However, between 2004 and 2007 the pathogen was additionally identified from hundreds of fields from the central high plains causing severe, measurable yield reductions. Read more.

Proposals Being Accepted for the Pulse Crop Health Initiative

The Pulse Crop Health Initiative is seeking submissions for research proposals for fiscal year 2019 funding. The goal of the Initiative is to use cooperative research on pulse crops, including dry beans, to provide solutions to the critical health and sustainability challenges facing the United States and the global community. The Initiative is guided by a steering committee that includes commodity groups, food industry, the health and nutrition community and USDA/ARS representatives.

Examples of dry bean focused research projects funded in the last year include enhancing nutritional traits and an analysis of human health traits. There is approximately $2.4 million available for funding, and the deadline for submission of new project proposals is June 17.

More information on submission guidelines, average annual budgets for previously funded projects or a template for submission is available by contacting Mike Grusak at mike.grusak@ars.usda.gov .