Project GREEEN celebrates 20 years of impact | Michigan Farm News

Project GREEEN celebrates 20 years of impact

Category: Crops

by Farm News Media

Dr. Fred Poston, who served as the Dean for the College of Ag & Natural Resources when Project GREEEN as developed, was on hand at a 20-year anniversary event.
Michigan State University’s Project GREEEN (Generating Research and Extension to meet Economic and Environmental Needs), celebrated its 20-year anniversary recently at the Lansing Center, with many of the original members on hand that created the unique partnership between Michigan State University AgBioResearch, MSU Extension, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, as well as 45 different commodity organizations.

According to MSU’s Dr. Doug Buhler, coordinator of Project GREEEN and director of MSU AgBioResearch, the partnership has served as a launch point for research and innovation, from combatting disease pressures and invasive insects to promoting sustainability and environmental stewardship.

“We’re proud that even through difficult financial times in Michigan, Project GREEEN has demonstrated that it’s a relevant and important investment,” Buhler said. “Support for our work on campus, at our research centers around the state as well as with grower cooperators has led to advancements in areas such as pest and disease management, and efficient use of water and other natural resources, just to name a couple.”

Outcomes from Project GREEEN research projects have assisted growers in managing issues such as altering practices due to climate change; controlling spotted wing drosophila, an invasive insect of soft-fleshed fruits; mitigating the effects of the emerald ash borer; combatting downy mildew and more.

According to Buhler, the return on investment for Project GREEEN research efforts, has contributed more than $2.5 billion to Michigan’s economy over the past two decades. The program has received more than $100 million in state support over its history.

Project GREEEN researchers have leveraged those funds to garner additional support through partnerships with Michigan commodity groups and private industry, as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other federal programs.

Originally called the “Plant Initiative,” MSU’s Project GREEEN was approved by the state legislature in 1997 with the strong grass-roots support of 45 agricultural commodity groups, including the Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB). According to MFB President Carl Bednarski, the impact Project GREEEN has had on plant-based Michigan agriculture is immense and wouldn’t have been possible without industry collaboration.

“Michigan agriculture is in a better place today because of your efforts,” Bednarski told the crowd during the celebration. “It took a strong united bond between industry groups, Michigan State University, State Government, and the Department of Agriculture, to transform Project GREEEN from an idea to a program. There is no doubt it will take a similar strategy to keep Project GREEEN relevant and impactful for the next 20 years, and Michigan Farm Bureau looks forward to being a part of it.”

According to Kevin Robson, Horticulture Specialist with Michigan Farm Bureau, Project GREEEN has succeeded in ensuring Michigan’s agricultural plant-based industries is vibrant and relevant over the last 20 years and will continue to do so.

“Many of us at Michigan Farm Bureau have had the opportunity to play an active role in the Project GREEEN process, and we look forward to continue doing our part to provide insight into a research platform that is relevant and timely for our members in plant-based agriculture,” he said.