The strawberry industry in the Pacific Northwest is at a crossroads, especially in Washington. Since the disbanding of the Washington Strawberry Commission in 2017, the number of research projects dedicated to strawberries has plummeted. WSU’s plant breeding program is about a third of the size of what it was when the Commission was intact. In Oregon, the Strawberry Commission is functioning well, but the extent of ongoing strawberry breeding at the USDA in Corvallis is uncertain.
To address this, plant breeders and industry advocates secured funds from Northwest Center for Small Fruit Research to convene a task force of eight Oregon and Washington strawberry growers. They represent a mix of farms, large and small, for fresh and processing. The task force has held two gatherings to brainstorm and plan for the future with the third and last meeting planned for December 2023. Strawberry research and plant breeding are of special importance, along with the Clean Plant Program and pesticide registration. One takeaway is that without a commission, or some sort of grower association, there is little chance that strawberry growers can voice their emerging research needs or advocate effectively for funding. The task force has penciled out some options to consider. Now, we need to hear from you!
Share your thoughtful feedback before May 15, 2023 using the button below
Include your email or phone number to receive the results later this year. Discuss with other growers and stay engaged to shape what strawberry research looks like now and into the future. The task force will discuss results and next steps at their meeting in December.
For questions, contact Julie Pond – [email protected].
Pacific Northwest Strawberry Growers Task Force Members (Dec 2022- Dec 2023):
John Clark (WA), Jayson Hoffman (OR), Mike Hulbert (WA), Derek Peacock (OR), Nathan and Bryan Sakuma (WA), Matt Unger (OR), Jake Wavrin (WA) and Charlie Gundersen (NorCal Nursery)