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Organic Production and SARE
The Sustainable Agriculture Research and
Education (SARE) Program
SARE is a U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded
initiative that sponsors competitive grants for
research and education in a regional process nationwide. SAN is
dedicated to the exchange of scientific and practical information on sustainable
agriculture systems using a variety of printed and electronic communications tools. SARE
works to increase knowledge about -- and help farmers and ranchers adopt -- practices that
are economically viable, environmentally sound and socially responsible. To advance such
knowledge nationwide, SARE administers a competitive Grants Program first
funded by Congress in 1988.
SARE, the region that includes Kentucky, is one of four SARE Regions.
Information about Southern SARE projects can be found in newsletters and
Southern SARE administers six separate grants,
each with its own priorities and audiences. The process begins with the release of calls
for proposals for each of the grants.
University Pawpaw SARE Project
"Development of Organic Production
Practices for Pawpaw on Selected Rootstocks"
Pawpaw is a unique native tree fruit that is resistant to many diseases and insect
pests, making this crop attractive to organic farmers. However, little information
concerning organic production of pawpaw is available. Pawpaw cultivars with excellent
fruit quality are usually propagated commercially by grafting cultivar buds (scions) onto
common seedling rootstock of diverse genetic origin. In regional variety trials, the
pawpaw cultivars PA-Golden and Sunflower have produced fruit earlier than other cultivars.
Rootstocks produced from open pollinated seed from these cultivars could promote early
bearing of grafted scions (cultivars) and result in early fruit production for farmers.
The goal of this project is to develop organic horticultural practices with selected
rootstocks in an effort to promote earlier bearing and consistent tree performance, and
longer tree life for organic and limited resource farmers.
The objectives of this proposal are:
1) to determine the optimal application rate of organic nitrogen (fish emulsion)
that enhances tree establishment, growth, early flowering, and fruit production in the
2) to determine if flame cultivation can be used effectively, compared to
glyphosate (RoundUp) application, for weed control to promote pawpaw tree establishment
and growth in orchards, and
3) to determine if seedling rootstocks derived from two pawpaw cultivars
(PA-Golden and Sunflower) will enhance tree survival, growth,
flowering, fruit set, and fruit size of four pawpaw cultivars (PA-Golden, Sunflower,
Shenandoah, and K8-2) compared to rootstock produced from commercially available mixed
Plantings for this objective will be established at six sites in three states (KY, WV,
and NC), including sites at Kentucky State University (KSU), the University of Kentucky
(UK), and four farms.
Education and Outreach Plan
Research findings will be presented at state and national scientific meetings like the
Kentucky Academy of Science, Kentucky State Horticulture Society, Kentucky Nut Growers
Association, Association of Research Directors national meeting, American Society for
Horticultural Science (ASHS) regional and national meetings, KSU Annual Pawpaw Field Day. All planting sites will
serve as demonstration orchards in the future for pawpaw production for limited resource
and organic farmers. Presentations will also be made at the KSU Third Thursday
Agricultural Workshop, which is a SARE supported workshop. Scientific journal articles
will be written and submitted to internationally regarded journals, such as HortScience
and HortTechnology. Additionally, project results will be placed on the KSU pawpaw web
site, the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) database, video cassettes,
CD-ROMs, extension bulletins, newsletters of organic grower organizations, and email,
providing national and international access to this information.