COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH AND EXTENSION NETWORK ADDRESSING CHALLENGES FOR SUSTAINABLE ORGANIC MUSHROOM PRODUCTION

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

Mushroom farming is a $1.1 billion per annum industry in the United States. During the 2015-2016 growing season US mushroom growers produced 91.1 million pounds of mushrooms that were certified organic, 49% more than during 2014-2015 (http://www.nass.usda.gov). Sales of certified organic mushrooms were 64.9 million pounds, or 71% of the total organic production, up 57 percent from the 2014-2015 crop year. Agaricus mushrooms accounted for 67 percent of the mushrooms sold as certified organic, while all specialty mushrooms made up the remainder. The certified organic sales of all mushrooms represent 7 percent of the 2015-2016 total mushroom sales. The number of certified organic mushroom growers totaled 68, representing 20 percent of the 346 total mushroom producers. Stakeholders for this project are North American commercial organic mushroom growers and suppliers and the industry organizations that represent them. This research proposal is the direct result of a need identified as part of the 2016 Mushroom industry strategic planning meeting/report and input from organic mushroom growers http://plantpath.psu.edu/research/areas/mushroom-science-and-technology/strategic-planning-reports/2016-strategic-planning-meeting-report). Organic mushroom production is particularly susceptible to attack by fungal and bacterial diseases, and fly infestations due to lack of OMRI approved products registered for use in mushroom production, this results in reductions in yield, quality and shelf life of the product. These issues, along with the higher cost of organic approved compost components and increased administration costs required for traceability of organically produced mushrooms seriously affect the economic viability of organic mushroom production. This research program aims to develop tools and strategies for adoption by organic growers that address these issues and increase profitability.In collaboration with eOrganic and eXtension, we will develop an interactive online presence for communication of project results to the organic growers and their allied industry parties. We will be conducting extensive outreach efforts to facilitate grower adoption of the findings, through articles in the trade magazine Mushroom News, industry conferences, workshops and extension publications such as grower fact sheets and web site updates in English and Spanish. Additionally, we will be training undergraduate students from Penn State University to be familiarized with the mushroom industry, providing the next generation of researchers and technical growers.

StatusFinished
Effective start/end date9/1/178/31/22

Funding

  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture: $959,984.00

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