Wednesday 21st September 2011, 14:19 London
WA topfruit pledges US$27m to research
Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission makes US$27m donation to Washington State University
Apple and pear growers in Washington State have voted to donate US$27m over eight years to support topfruit research at Washington State University (WSU).
The Washington State Department of Agriculture confirmed last week that 57 per cent of apple growers and 56 per cent of pear growers had approved a US$1 per tonne assessment dedicated to WSU research and extension.
US$11m will cover the salaries and benefits of six endowed chairs to support WSU's tree fruit research programme. Another US$11m will be used to improve the transfer of information and technology for Washington growers and shippers. The final US$5m will support dedicated research orchards in Wenatchee and Prosser, the locations of the WSU's research and extension centres.
Jim Doornink, chair of the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission, said: "The Washington tree fruit industry is a global competitor today in part due to the partnership and close collaboration among growers and scientists at WSU."
WSU president Elson Floyd commented: "A gift of this magnitude is truly transformational. In partnership, WSU and growers will work to ensure the industry continues to be a leader in the global market."
The state's cherry and stonefruit growers did not approve similar special project assessments.