Dec 23, 2022
UC Davis research to study dependable pulse crops for arid regions
A researcher at the University of California – Davis has been awarded nearly $20,000 to study dependable pulse crops for arid regions that promote the ecological and financial sustainability of organic farms.
Researchers led by Travis Parker will use novel sequencing and molecular biology techniques to identify the genes governing the most valuable heirloom common bean seed color patterns. This research will screen diverse cowpeas and tepary beans to identify varieties that can outperform standard commercial pulses and evaluate and select varieties of common bean specifically for organic environments.
The $19,970 award, presented by the Organic Farming Research Foundation and the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research, is the sixth of the 2021/22 OFRF research grant cycle.
Legume crops provide plentiful plant protein and have several agronomic advantages for organic farmers, including the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, according to a news release. Certain legume species and varieties also provide extreme heat tolerance, low water requirements and high market value. But little is known about their yields in organically managed arid environments, and little breeding has been done to improve their agronomic performance.
Researchers hope to find varieties with higher yields while learning more of about breeding high-value, high-productivity beans through genetic investigation.
This year’s research grant program prioritized farmers, early career researchers, and Black, Indigenous and people of color. The six projects chosen focus on climate mitigation and building on-farm resilience and have been awarded a total of $119,817.
The 2021/22 cycle was made possible by a $66,000.00 grant from FFAR and matching funds from OFRF and its research partners.
To date, OFRF has invested more than $3 million in 361 grants across North America to advance scientific knowledge and improve the ecological sustainability and economic prosperity of organic farming systems. All OFRF-funded research must involve farmers or ranchers in project design and implementation, take place on certified organic land and include strong education and outreach components.
Research results are available in OFRF’s online database.