The 16 Texas specialty crop projects to receive funding include:
- Partner with the Texas Vegetable Association along with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Texas A&M Center for Food Safety, and Texas A&M AgriLife Research to increase grower/packer awareness of field and packing process high risk contamination areas and ultimately limit contamination outbreaks by identifying best practices to reduce the risk contamination areas in harvesting situations across multiple specialty crops grown in Texas.
- Partner with the Texas Vegetable Association to increase brand awareness and sales of specialty crops by utilizing increased media, billboards and in-store demonstrations to educate consumers on the health benefits, availability and freshness of GO TEXAN vegetables and the benefits of pairing vegetables and dairy to make a tasty, healthy meal. Matching funds will be used to cover non-specialty crop expenses.
- Increase retail sales of specialty crops by maintaining a liaison position within the Texas Department of Agriculture; creating a promotional campaign using in-store advertising, online advertisements and social media to drive consumers to their local retailers for Texas grown produce and horticulture products; and promoting Texas produce in restaurants through targeting advertising and social media. Matching funds will be used to cover non-specialty crop promotions.
- Partner with the Texas Olive Oil Council to increase Texas olive orchard productivity and yield by providing state of the industry training for optimizing fruiting and harvesting management practices using digital technology distribution.
- Partner with the Sustainable Food Center to increase sales of specialty crops at two farmers markets by employing a Food Access Manager to train specialty crop growers to participate in the Double Dollar Incentive Program that doubles the value of fruits and vegetable purchases using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Women, Infant and Children (WIC), and WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) benefits.
- Partner with the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association and the Texas Watersmart Group to improve water conservation and minimize the effects of drought by educating consumers about water conservation through radio advertising.
- Partner with the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association to improve water conservation by providing both face-to-face and online training on water saving strategies for both businesses and consumers.
- Partner with TexaSweet Citrus Marketing to increase sales and consumption of Texas Grapefruit by continuing to conduct education and promotional programs to classrooms and reinforce messages shared in schools with a blogger ambassador program and media outreach.
- Partner with the Texas International Produce Association and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension to increase education and awareness of water conserving technologies and practices through educational field days and workshops.
- Partner with the Uvalde County Underground Water Conservation District and Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center to increase the number of Texas urban and rural growers adopting water use efficient production systems for leafy greens through targeted educational and outreach programs that help growers develop efficient production practices.
- Partner with the Texas Pecan Growers Association, Texas Tech University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service to increase truffle production in Texas by continuing to promote truffles to growers and consumers and conducting research to provide growers with the best production practices for co-cropping truffles and pecans in Texas.
- Partner with the National Center for Appropriate Technology and Texas A&M AgriLife Research to enhance the quality, taste and production of specialty melons and artichokes by expanding evaluations in replicated trials, studying quality and yield responses under various conditions and production systems, and sharing results of the studies with growers and consumers through workshops, field days and product demonstrations.
- Partner with the Texas Pecan Growers Association and Texas A&M AgriLife Research to continue to increase knowledge of growers about the most susceptible rootstocks and potential for new resistant rootstocks to cotton root rot by informing pecan growers of the results of the early cotton root rot evaluations among pecan germplasm being assessed.
- Partner with J&D Produce and Texas AgriLife Research to allow growers to expand production and capture a larger market share for Texas grown tomatoes by conducting field trials for tomato yellow leaf curl virus resistant cultivars bred by Texas A&M University so that Texas tomato growers have multiple resistant options.
- Partner with Texas Citrus Mutual to continue to slow the spread of citrus greening disease or Huanglongbing (HLB) in the Rio Grande Valley by using an area-wide HLB detection survey complimented by grower and public outreach.