Southern SARE Funds Research for Graduate Students Across the Southeast

August 26, 2021
Clemson University graduate student Jaine Allran harvests bagged peaches at the Clemson University Musser Fruit Research Farm. Photo credit: Candace Pollock-Moore, SSARE

GRIFFIN, Georgia – The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (SSARE) has announced the funded projects for the 2021 Graduate Student Grants Program.

The SSARE Administrative Council selected 19 projects which received $302,661 in funding. The Graduate Student Grant program is one of the few funding opportunities open to master’s and PhD students researching sustainable agriculture.  

Through their research, the grant recipients will work with other researchers, scientists, educators to find sustainable solutions to the challenges faced by farmers and ranchers.

The following projects were selected to received 2021 Graduate Student Grants.

GS21-235 Examining field-crop farmers’ climate change perceptions, adaptation strategies, and resilience in Florida—A spatial econometric approach, University of Florida, $15,775, Student: Yong Liu, [email protected], Researcher: Jorge Ruiz-Menjivar, [email protected]

GS21-236 Identifying the roles of predatory natural enemies in pecan systems: Molecular-based framework for sustainable pest management, University of Georgia, $15,707, Student: Pedro Toledo, [email protected], Researcher: Jason Schmidt, [email protected]

GS21-237 Agricultural Water Resource Management in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, University of Florida, $13,076, Student: Megan Donovan, [email protected], Researcher: Marilyn Swisher, [email protected]

GS21-238 Sustainable Management Practices for Vanilla Cultivation, University of Florida, $16,499, Student: Joshua Anderson, [email protected], Researcher: Alan Chambers, [email protected]  

GS21-239 Quantifying and Understanding Factors Affecting Tissue Nitrate Accumulation in Organic Celery, University of Florida, $16,497, Student: Zachary Ray, [email protected], Researcher: Xin Zhao, [email protected]

GS21-240 Evaluating the impacts of Conservation Stewardship plantings on arthropod communities in Louisiana agroecosystems, Louisiana State University, $16,008, Student: Scott Lee, [email protected], Researcher: Jeffrey Davis, [email protected]  

GS21-241 Harnessing the wild relatives of rice for novel adaptive phenotypes: Genetics and breeding for agricultural sustainability beyond the Green Revolution, Texas Tech University, $16,500, Student: Swarupa Mandal, [email protected], Researcher: Benildo Reyes, [email protected]

GS21-242 Equity and Environment in Scaled-Up Sustainable Food Systems Development, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, $16,500, Student: Sophie Kelmenson, [email protected], Research: Nichola Lowe, [email protected]

GS21-243 Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungal Associations in Tea under Sustainable Production Systems in Florida, University of Florida, $16,444, Student: Caitlin Clarke, [email protected], Researcher: Bala Rathinasabapathi, [email protected]

GS21-244 What’s the Buzz? Assessing Efficacy, Synergisms, and Sustainability of Pollinators in Southern Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium  corymbosum  L.) University of Florida, $16,493, Student: John Ternest, [email protected], Researcher: Rachel Mallinger, [email protected]

GS21-245 Spraying too much: Understanding the biology of the red headed flea beetle to inform IPM in nursery crops, Virginia Tech University, $16,480, Student: Eleanor Lane, [email protected], Researcher: Alejandro Del Pozo-Valdivia, [email protected]

GS21-246 Supporting an emerging industry: developing a broccoli crop model to guide growers with sustainable decision-making, Auburn University, $16,479, Student: Marcos de Barros, [email protected], Researcher: Andre da Silva, [email protected]

GS21-247 Small-scale farmer networks in Florida: Understanding and measuring their impacts and exploring the role of extension in their success, University of Florida, $15,930, Student: Jose Perez, [email protected], Researcher: Paul Monaghan, [email protected]

GS221-248 African American Absentee Landowners in Houston and Their Knowledge of Rural Land Ownership Conservation Practices- A Needs Assessment, Texas A&M University, $14,532, Student: Ashley Pellerin, [email protected], Researcher: Chanda Elbert, [email protected]

GS21-249 Forecasting pasture productivity from satellite imagery for use in adaptive grazing management, University of Florida, $16,445, Student: Hunter Smith, [email protected], Researcher: Chris Wilson, [email protected]

GS21-250 Utility of native floral plantings between tree rows for conservation and management of wild bees and other beneficial insects in tree fruit orchards, University of Arkansas, $14,817, Student: Lilia Beatie, [email protected], Researcher: Neelendra Joshi, [email protected] 

GS21-251 Effectiveness of tarping and tillage as weed management strategies in South Texas, University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley, $16,499, Student: Christopher De la Rosa, [email protected], Researcher: Alexis Racelis, [email protected]

GS21-252 Improving Nutsedge and Grass Control in Organic Production Systems using Sequential Mowing and Organic Herbicide Application, North Carolina State University, $15,654, Student: Stephen Ippolito, [email protected], Researcher: Katherine Jennings, [email protected] GS21-253 Combining Roller Crimpers and Electrical Methods for Termination of Cover Crops in Herbicide-free Reduced-tillage Vegetable Crop Production Systems, North Carolina State University, $16,326, Student: Colton Blankenship, [email protected], Researcher: Katherine Jennings, [email protected]

Published by the Southern Region of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Southern SARE operates under cooperative agreements with the University of GeorgiaFort Valley State University, and the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture to offer competitive grants to advance sustainable agriculture in America's Southern region. 

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