Driven by science and technology, agriculture is constantly changing. Its evolution requires research that creates new knowledge, and economic context that will allow farmers to make informed decisions. The New York Farm Viability Institute (NYFVI) (www.nyfvi.org) runs a competitive grant program that seeks to create and share knowledge to improve the economic viability of New York’s farmers.
At NYFVI, we believe that there is scientific knowledge being created in non-traditional ag areas that could be applied to agricultural challenges.
Multi-disciplinary projects that we’ve funded include:
- The use of UV-C light to fight fungal diseases in squash. Mount Sinai Light and Health Research Center/Cornell Cooperative Extension
- Using Soil Cation Exchange Capacity measurements to inform vineyard management. University at Buffalo/Cornell Cooperative Extension
- Data analytics to understand if soil properties can predict yield. University at Buffalo/Cornell
- A predictive model based on herd health records that allows farmers to reduce their use of antimicrobials. Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine and Valley Ag Software.
- The use of nanoparticle technology to develop protective seed coatings for plants. Zymtronix, a company that started out in Cornell’s Materials Science department.
- MRNA technologies to bolster apple trees resistance to disease. Cornell trialing private sector solutions.
- Aerial imaging and analytics to optimize beet harvest. Rochester Institute of Technology/Cornell
As you can see from the list above, work in biochemistry, biology, materials science, engineering, and biophysics all have a role in developing new solutions for agricultural challenges. Like many industries, data analytics and predictive models will be critical components of many future solutions.
Easy to use and affordable diagnostic tools, such as real time PCR assays, carbon measurement, soil biome assessment, and methane emissions are also areas that we’ve seen benefit from multi-disciplinary approaches.
If you are building knowledge that may be transferable to agricultural challenges, we would welcome the opportunity to learn more about your work. Please feel free to reach out!