DEVELOPING COMPREHENSIVE APPROACHES TO MEET THE SCIENCE NEEDS OF THE HORTICULTURAL COMMUNITY
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) held a series of stakeholder listening sessions in 2006-2007 in preparation for the impending farm bill. They received thousands of comments from horticultural producers, handlers and processors. Overwhelmingly, these comments emphasized the need for science-based solutions to the challenges facing U.S. horticultural industries. In response, USDA created the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) and charged the Research, Education and Economics Mission Area with implementation. During the implementation phase, stakeholders identified workforce development as a critical need and USDA responded by including this as one of five major areas in a strategic implementation plan for the SCRI. With passage of the farm bill in 2008, SCRI received US$230 million over 5 years in mandatory funding for a competitive grant program to address the science needs of the horticultural community. The overall focus of this grant program is to discover new knowledge and technologies to insure a sustainable supply of horticultural products. The development of new knowledge and technology further emphasizes the need for education and training of both the current and future workforce in horticulture. A comprehensive plan spanning university graduate education to primary education has been developed. The goal is to link the entire agricultural education system in a coordinated series of programs that inspires youth to choose horticulture as a career and that enables those already in horticultural careers to expand their knowledge into areas of future need. There will be a continuing need to create new educational opportunities as horticultural industries become more knowledge and data intensive.
Bewick, T., Smith , G. and Schmoldt , D. (2011). DEVELOPING COMPREHENSIVE APPROACHES TO MEET THE SCIENCE NEEDS OF THE HORTICULTURAL COMMUNITY. Acta Hortic. 916, 191-199
competitive grant programs, continuing education, public policy, student education, workforce development