pollenating beeNEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-NJ) today announced a $2,849,975 National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) grant to Rutgers University in New Brunswick to fund critical research focused on striking the horticultural balance between pest control and protecting vital insect populations, such as bees, which pollinate plants and aid in the persistence of our food supply of fruits and vegetables.

“This is great news for Rutgers and New Jersey families,” said Sen. Menendez. “A healthy pollinator population is critical for the farms and orchards of the Garden State. This grant will fund critical research into how to best protect the pollinators that help our ecosystem flourish, while still making scientific advances in pest control.”

“A healthy ecosystem for pollinators in our region is a vital part of New Jersey’s environmental and economic well-being, and is vital for New Jersey’s agriculture industry,” said Sen. Booker. “This grant will enable the bright minds at Rutgers University to find new ways to better balance between protecting farmers’ lands from pests while keeping bees and other insects safe from pest control products.”  

NIFA grants are administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  This grant will fund a study by Rutgers scientists entitled, “Protecting Pollinators with Economically Feasible and Environmentally Sound Ornamental Horticulture.”

Rutgers received an additional $50,000 NIFA grant to fund a separate study entitled "Identifying Knowledge Gaps and Novel Management Strategies for Downy Mildews Impacting Environmental Horticulture Crops" to identify and prioritize the gaps in grower's knowledge and the perceptions and practices on downy mildew diseases of environmental horticulture crops.  Downy mildew is a fungal disease that affects many plants and appears as yellow or white discoloration on leaves.