(CNSNews.com) - Over $2 million in taxpayer funds are going to “Developing an Eastern Broccoli Industry” through a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Grant.
“Eastern consumers' demand for local broccoli is high, but that demand cannot be met until sufficiently adapted varieties are available and the distribution network is expanded,” the non-technical summary for the project explains.
The $2,019,142 in funding is being given to Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Specialty Crop Research Initiative for the “Developing An Eastern Broccoli Industry Through Cultivar Development, Economically and Environmentally Sustainable Production and Delivery” program.
"America's specialty crop farmers face many challenges ranging from a changing climate to increasing production costs. Investing in cutting edge research helps uncover solutions to keep their operations viable and ensures Americans have access to safe, affordable and diverse food options," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says in a press release on the grant awards.
Among the eastern broccoli project objectives is to market special hybrid seeds in the U.S. that are “much better adapted to the East,” and to “overcome barriers to increased distribution of eastern-grown broccoli that have not (been) resolved in the private sector.”
The grant highlights the benefits developing the eastern broccoli industry will have on climate change, “This expansion will also reduce the overall cost and carbon footprint of broccoli consumed in the East, increase food security by diversifying production areas, and provide rural economic development.”
“National food security is improved by diversifying the production area to reduce risk from regional events like the current western drought. Production to include areas with sufficient rainfall stabilizes the market and improves food security. Furthermore, the carbon footprint of eastern broccoli consumption is lower because it is shipped shorter distances, and with less ice,” the grant program says.