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Michigan asparagus growers receive USDA grants

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Money will support two projects including disease control and weather data technology.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is releasing more than $243 million in grants supporting specialty crops. Michigan’s Asparagus Advisory Board receiving two grants totaling $180,000 supporting two projects. Yields have been impacted in recent years by roughly 50%. The first project will focus on disease resistance.

“Designing updated management practices for growers to use increase the life of that plant.”

Jamie Clover Adams is Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board Executive Director. She says it’s about reducing cost and increasing yields at a time when 60% of asparagus is shipped fresh to consumers. The second project is technology-based focused on weather data.

“To then make decisions about what you do on disease control. So, we’re working with the engineering department at Michigan State University to work on that project.”

Oceana County is the number one asparagus growing location in the nation. The state estimates the asparagus industry is valued at $23 million dollars.