Strawberry Survey Summary
North Carolina strawberry growers continue to express interest in participating in conservation programs. Surveys of strawberry growers conducted in 2005 and 2006 show that growers have limited knowledge about financial assistance to cover the cost of adopting environmentally sound practices. However the surveys also show that growers have a keen interest in learning more about how to make use of those programs to support new practices on their farms.
According to the survey results growers aware of the financial assistance available increased marginally from 9% in 2006 to 14% in 2007. However, grower interest in learning more about the programs remained consistently high with 88% of growers indicating interest in 2005 and 85% in 2006.
The surveys were conducted in conjunction with a project organized by the Center for Agricultural Partnerships (CAP) (www.agcenter.org) in cooperation with the North Carolina Strawberry Association (NCSA), North Carolina State University and Cooperative Extension Service (NCSU & CES), and Natural Resource Conservation Service staff. Just as important the project created new opportunities for strawberry growers to receive financial assistance in using row covers for frost protection as well as incentives for the use of methyl bromide alternatives and the use of VIF (very impermeable film) tarping. These practices were established based on the work of Dr. Barclay Poling and Dr. Frank Louws.
Given grower interest in the financial assistance opportunities and the importance of implementing these new practices CAP, NCSC, and NCSU, are hoping to develop a strong outreach, education and technical assistance program so that NC producers can make use of this important new opportunity.
(For complete survey results contact CAP at 828 285-9340).