$5 million scab budget sent to U.S.D.A.

by Ron Sterk
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EAST LANSING, MICH. — The U.S. Wheat & Barley Scab Initiative (U.S.W.B.S.I.) submitted $5,030,830 in research projects to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (A.R.S.) for fiscal 2014.

The U.S.W.B.S.I. steering committee approved the research budget for fusarium heat blight, also known as scab, at its meeting following the National Fusarium Head Blight Forum last winter. The requests then were translated into individual U.S.D.A.-A.R.S. grant applications that now have been submitted to the A.R.S.

Sue Canty, manager of the U.S.W.B.S.I. Networking & Facilitation Office in East Lansing, said the 2014 funding was up from about $4.7 million in 2013 and near the 2012 level. Part of the additional funding this year will be used to commission a study on the economic value of scab research funded by the U.S.W.B.S.I., she said.

“Our goal with this study is to quantify the value of the initiative to the agricultural enterprise in those states affected by scab,” Ms. Canty said.

The total 2014 research budget includes 129 projects in 26 states and the District of Columbia, and involves 24 land grant universities in addition to the U.S.D.A.-A.R.S. and the U.S.D.A.’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Part of this year’s budget includes initial funding for the Western Coordinated Project that will focus on research in the West, where scab is becoming more prevalent, Ms. Canty said.

The U.S.W.B.S.I. annually develops a comprehensive research plan and budget recommendation aimed at developing as quickly as possible effective control measures that minimize the threat of scab, including the reduction of mycotoxins, to wheat and barley producers, processors and consumers. The annual budget for the wheat and barley scab initiative is approved by Congress.

The 2014 National Fusarium Head Blight Forum, hosted by the U.S.W.B.S.I., will be held Dec. 7-9 in St. Louis.
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