Jan 27, 2022Michigan Tree Fruit Commission views 2022 funding requests
The Michigan Tree Fruit Commission’s (MTFC) 2022 call for projects received 21 funding requests from Michigan State University’s (MSU) five, off-campus, research stations.
The requests include funding for equipment, equipment repairs/upgrades, new orchard establishment and a lab upgrade.
The five stations are the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center at Traverse City, the Trevor Nichols Research Center at Fennville, the Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center at Benton Harbor, the Clarksville Research Center at Clarksville, and the West Central Michigan Research and Extension Center at Hart.
“Each research center prioritizes their requests,” said Jim Nugent, a fruit grower from Suttons Bay, Michigan, and MTFC chair. This prioritization helps the MTFC board evaluate which projects to fund. Three additional funding requests from MSU faculty members will also have to be prioritized.
The next meeting of the MTFC board will be in-person at the Kent County MSU Extension office, 775 Ball Ave. N.E., Grand Rapids, Michigan, at 9:30 am on Feb. 23. Board members will hear oral presentations from applicants at the meeting and have the opportunity to ask questions about the funding requests.
The final funding decisions will be made at the board’s following meeting on March 23 at the Michigan Apple Committee office in DeWitt, Michigan, and will also be at 9:30 am.
Both meetings are open to the public.
The funding decisions will be made in concert with MSU AgBioResearch which also contributes funding toward capital investments at the research stations. “This is a great example of the industry and MSU partnering to meet the most essential needs of the fruit research faculty and staff,” Nugent said.
The MTFC also provides funding to cover the plot maintenance fees associated with research projects funded by other partner organizations such as the Michigan Apple Committee, the Cherry Marketing Institute and the Michigan State Horticultural Society.
The MTFC also supports the MSU Extension fruit team with funding for professional development and a mini-grant program that provides smaller amounts of funding throughout the year to allow researchers and Extension staff to respond quickly to emerging issues.
The MTFC was established by a producer referendum to collect an assessment on Michigan’s apples, cherries, peaches and plums to support tree fruit research.
The MTFC has no employees and no overhead costs. Any minor expenses the MTFC incurs are paid for by commodity groups in Michigan’s tree fruit industry. All assessments collected by the MTFC go to supporting research and MSU Extension.
– Dean Peterson, FGN Correspondent