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MDARD Awards Nearly $55,000 in Grants for Horticulture Research in Michigan

Funding invests in projects to support sustainable agriculture practices, support the growth of the state's horticulture industry

LANSING — Today, the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDARD) announced the three recipients of the 2024 Horticulture Fund Grant designed to support Michigan's approximately $1.4 billion nursery and ornamental horticulture industry.  

"These grants are another way MDARD is making investments in supporting sustainable agriculture, healthier communities, and cultivating resilience to our changing world," said MDARD Director Dr. Tim Boring. "Research is a fundamental part to ensuring the long-term success of Michigan's nursery and ornamental horticulture industry."

The department received seven proposals. Of those, MDARD awarded the three following projects, totaling a $54,953 investment:

  • Rodney Fernandez, Professor, Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University
    • Ensuring water security through the reduction of nitrogen and pesticides in agricultural wastewater.
  • Debalina Saha, Assistant Professor, Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University
    • Comparing the effects of organic versus synthetic herbicides for liverwort control and the effect on nursery production.
  • Younsuk Dong, Assistant Professor, Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, Michigan State University
    • Improving irrigation management in Christmas tree production through loT-based sensor monitoring technology and irrigation scheduling.

Selected grant projects must fall under one of three categories:

  • Applied Research: Crop management systems that enhance industry profitability while being environmentally and socially responsible and provide long-term benefits to Michigan s nursery and ornamental horticulture industry.
  • Basic Research: Research generating knowledge that can be used to address contemporary problems and/or enable the future development and implementation of improved techniques or processes.
  • Outreach/Training/Demonstration: Activities focused on assisting Michigan s nursery and ornamental horticultural industries.

The proposals were evaluated by the Horticulture Fund Advisory Committee through a competitive process.

For additional information about MDARD's Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division, visit


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