2019 Message from the Coordinator
A message from Project GREEEN coordinator Doug Buhler
Last year, as we celebrated the 20th anniversary of Project GREEEN alongside our partners, it provided the opportunity to reflect on the past and look toward the future.
Project GREEEN leaders have always strived to position the initiative to respond to the most pressing challenges facing plant agriculture. These have included a plethora of topics over the years, such as diseases and pests — emerald ash borer, downy mildew and, most recently, spotted wing drosophila (SWD) and tar spot of corn, to name a few.
And that commitment to responsiveness gets at the heart of Project GREEEN. Our ability to be flexible and responsive is undoubtedly our greatest strength.
I have long admired the architects of Project GREEEN, leaders who had the foresight to create a program that would be just as relevant 20 years later. It’s purposefully broad enough to allow for rapid response to emerging issues but ultimately focused on one goal: ensuring the sustainability of Michigan plant agriculture.
This is especially important in today’s agriculture landscape. A multitude of challenges have beset the industry in recent years and put tremendous pressure on growers, from unprecedented weather to volatile economic conditions. Project GREEEN is structured to allow us to quickly shift resources to areas of greatest need.
For example, SWD was not a major priority just a few years ago. Now the majority of research resources for cherries and other soft-fleshed fruits are aimed at curbing the mounting damage caused by SWD.
Unfortunately, this is just one example of an industry facing an uncertain future. Having the support of the Michigan Legislature, commodity organizations and growers has given MSU the resources needed to make headway on managing these issues. In addition, our researchers have been successful at leveraging these dollars for grants at both the state and national levels.
While the current obstacles are vast, we know there will be more on the horizon. But there’s hope. Project GREEEN partners have believed in our mission from the outset and have persevered through difficult times. Our industry is a resilient one, and I’m proud that we’re working toward its long-term health and sustainability.
Thank you for your continued support.
Coordinator, Project GREEEN
Director, MSU AgBioResearch