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Extension/Outreach Projects

Agriculture

Outreach Project

We worked with Massachusetts growers on a broad range of activities related to Integrated Pest Management for diversified vegetable and fruit farms. One of the core components of this project is working with several 'mentor farms,' who grow both fruits and vegetables and are open to expanding their use of advanced integrated pest management techniques as well as working with us to better understand how a diversified farm can use IPM.  We also conducted field trials on-farm and at our research farm on IPM methods identified by growers as their priorities each year. We shared what we learn on each of these farms by holding twilight meetings, posting pest alerts, and writing IPM articles for publication on our websites, newsletters, and facebook page.

Outreach Project

Fire blight is a major threat to apple production in USA. It can destroy thousands of high density trees per farm in epidemic conditions. Our priority is to address this threat by development of pest risk assessment through quantifying survival of fire blight bacterium Erwinia amylovora in wood cankers as main sources for infection. 

Outreach Project

Corn silage is a primary source of feed on most New England dairy farms, and feed is the largest annual expense. The corn growing season spans mid-May through early-October, with variation according to weather, region, and the maturity period (days to harvest) of the corn that the farmer selects. Corn planted in Massachusetts ranges from 85 days to maturity to well over 114 days to maturity.

Following the corn harvest, farmers will spread stored manure onto their fields to make space to store manure that will accumulate over the coming winter months. Before or after the manure application, farmers will ideally plant a cover crop. Cover crops are typically not harvested for profit, and rather serve to protect the soil until the following spring, when corn will again be planted.

Outreach Project

Threats to the sustainability of cranberry production in MA and elsewhere in the U.S. come from many sources: consumer demands for sustainable but inexpensive products, commodity pricing in an industry that is currently over-supplied with juice concentrate, changes to industry fruit quality standards, rising costs for energy and pest management products, and changing standards in pesticide use to accommodate global marketing.

Outreach Project

The goal of the proposed research work is to evaluate the addition of biochar as a soil amendment in a temperate agricultural field and in the greenhouse using live field soil.

Outreach Project

Across the Northeast, high-tunnels are being used with increasing frequency to lengthen the season of spinach and other greens to have produce to sell all winter long.  In this high intensity, year-round system, insect and disease pests build up over time and can become difficult to control.  In this study, UMass Extension partnered with Queen’s Greens—a commercial vegetable farm with a focus on year-round production of organic greens—to evaluate efficacy of biopesticides to improve germination, reduce disease severity, and improve yields in winter-grown spinach.

We conducted lab and field trials to: a) determine if certain biocontrol organisms are more cold tolerant than others and would thus be better suited for use in winter production systems; and b) if any of the products evaluated can significantly increase crop yield and quality.

Outreach Project

The goal of this project is to adapt UMass Extension produce safety training materials for vegetable and fruit growers to address the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Rule, and to work with other agricultural organizations around the state to broaden the audience for training delivery. In the long term, we aim to establish a training program and curriculum that continues to meet and respond to the needs of MA produce growers by supporting and encouraging a culture of on-farm food safety.

Outreach Project

Each year we meet with an advisory panel of conventional and organic growers from across Massachusetts to identify crop and pest management trials of greatest concern to the farming community.  We then contact grower organizations such as the New England Vegetable and Berry Growers Association and commercial seed and crop protection companies to sponsor trials and treatments that target the pest management concerns of our stakeholders.

Outreach Project

This project focused on shelled corn, a renewable heat source that can be grown and used in Massachusetts more cheaply than fossil fuels, using available and proven technology. Changing to energy sources that can be produced locally, travel a short distance from producer to user, and that have a high ratio of energy output to fossil fuel input is key to a viable future for farming in Massachusetts.

Outreach Project

Nearly 15,000 acres were devoted to sweet corn production in New England in 2012. Because sweet corn is an herbicide-, fertilizer-, and water-intensive crop, research must be done to develop production systems that can reduce inputs and tillage. This project aims to improve sustainable and profitable production of early sweet corn in the Northeast by integrating the benefits of forage radish cover crops and no-till production. Two experiments will measure the precocity, fertility, and weed suppression in early sweet corn provided by fall forage radish cover crops.

Outreach Project

In order to meet sustainability standards being mandated by customers and to ensure long-term viability for their farms, cranberry growers have recognized the need for improvement in water, nutrient, and pest management.  Improvements in these practices have great potential for cost savings and for environmental enhancement and will eventually be required under any adopted sustainability certification program.  Major Massachusetts cranberry insect, weed, and disease pests are cranberry fruitworm, dodder, and fruit rot, respectively.  These pests also challenge cranberry production in other U. S. regions including, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Washington, and Oregon.  The use of conventional pesticides is the predominant approach employed to control these pests.  Long-term sustainability for the Massachusetts cranberry industry requires the integration of reduced-risk pest management alternatives.

Outreach Project

Our Project goal is to deliver effective and timely IPM information and recommendations to MA vegetable and fruit growers that enable these specialty crop growers to achieve increased profitability while reducing adverse risks to human health and the environment.

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

This project is identifying potentially useful wine grape cultivars and evaluating their growth under conditions in central and coastal Massachusetts. It will provide information to Massachusetts fruit growers on grapes that they may grow to assist them to diversify their crops.

Outreach Project

This project will address the need for a scouting and pest advisory network that spans the range of climate zones from north to south in New England and is responsive to seasonal fluctuations in weather and crop conditions. Using field walks and weekly scouting visits at sentinel farms in Vermont, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, we will provide growers with hands-on training in IPM methods for key pests and/or diseases in vegetable and fruit crops.

Outreach Project

Preserving and improving soil health/quality/resiliency continues to be an area of strong interest and concern for MA land stewards. Not unique to MA, this concern has been echoed across the region and nationally leading NRCS to emphasize soil health awareness as a continued priority with a special emphasis on cover cropping.

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

The objectives of this project are to conduct research and extension outreach to reduce feed and fertilizer purchase, increase farmers income and demonstrate best management practices to reduce non-point source pollution related to agriculture and equine operations.

Outreach Project

Over 75 named and numbered peach/nectarine and plum varieties/selections are under casual evaluation and demonstration at the UMass Cold Spring Orchard. Most of them are varieties/selection from the Fruit Acres/Stellar, Paul Friday/Flaming Fury, and Rutgers/Adams County Nursery breeding and variety introduction programs. Data/observations collected includes flowering, yield, fruit quality (size, color, firmness, brix, maturity, and taste/consumer acceptance), and pest susceptibility. Results/variety recommendations are available to growers at meetings and personal consultation/visits to UMass Orchard.

Outreach Project

In New England, European corn borer and pepper maggot are the most common insect pests of pepper fruit. In many locations, peppers picked at the green stage are only marginally affected by ECB, but those left in the field long enough to ripen fall prey to ECB, then to soft rots. During the 2012 season, the UMass IPM team worked with several growers to see if releases of the parasitic wasp Trichogramma ostrinae could increase their yield of healthy bright red and yellow fruit. In the process, the team observed increased incidence of pepper anthracnose in the fields in which they were working.

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

The University of Massachusetts Amherst recognizes the importance of reliable and prompt diagnosis of plant problems for the turf, floriculture, vegetable, nursery, urban forestry and landscape industries. We serve farmers, horticulturists, landscape contractors, turf managers, arborists, nurseries, and others in agriculture and the green industries.  The lab also assesses ticks for Lyme disease as a service to the public.

Outreach Project

There has been a steadily increasing demand for craft beer in the United States in the past 2 decades, especially the northeastern and western regions of the country. Currently, there is an insufficient body of research regarding varieties and fertility management plans that would permit growers in the pioneer valley to produce malting-quality barley. Barley must fit into a range of specific quality parameters, such as percent protein and the near absence of Deoxynivalenol (DON, produced by Fusarium head blight), to be suitable for malting. However, malt barley has a price premium ($5.70/bu) over feed barley ($3.37/bu) (June, 2016). This price premium may incentivize production for growers in the region. Consumer demand for locally sourced ingredients, in addition to locally produced beer may provide further economic incentives for regional production. Increased understanding of viable methods for producing malt quality barley in the region would therefore provide economic benefit to local breweries, malt houses, and farmers.

Outreach Project

Reduced and modified tillage (RT) systems (e.g. no-, zone-, strip) represent strategies to reduce soil degradation and erosion and protect water quality. Previous research has shown that these tillage systems can provide the environmental and economic benefits of a RT system for many vegetable crops without the harvest delays or losses observed in straight no-till.

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

The University of Massachusetts Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Laboratory offers accurate and affordable analytical testing of soil, plant tissue, compost, and soilless greenhouse media.

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

The goal of the UMass Extension Sustainable Cranberry Project is to provide cranberry growers with pertinent and timely information so they may sustain their operations in Southeastern Massachusetts.

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

UMass Extension provides farmers with access to current research information on new and alternative species and varieties, advanced horticultural management techniques, marketing and business management strategies, pest-ecology, and pest-management procedures

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

Through diverse methods the vegetable team will educate growers about environmentally and economically sound crop and pest management practices, invasive pests, changing pest conditions, innovative practices. Field based projects will assist growers to test and use new practices. Numerous educational programs and publications will reach over 1,000 growers. Specific new practices include biological control of two key pests (Mexican bean beetle in beans, European corn borer in peppers and corn), mitigation of soil borne diseases with cover crops and reduced tillage; using social media as well as newsletters and website for pest alerts; scouting networks for sweet corn pests, late blight, and other pests; educational programs throughout the year including the New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference; release of the new edition of the New England Vegetable Management Guide.

Outreach Project

Maintaining optimal saturation levels and draining ponded water remains a challenge for many cranberry growers in southeastern Massachusetts.  Wet conditions as a result of inadequate drainage in cranberry production could result in increased root rot and fruit rot diseases, inhibition of root development, reduced fruit retention and reduced productivity.  Subsurface tile drainage provides a mechanism for removing excess moisture from the soils by draining to field capacity in a reasonable time so that plant growth is not significantly impaired. Without artificial drainage, plants have difficulty establishing a healthy root system on poorly drained soils since excess water prevents air and oxygen from getting to the plant root zone. In addition, subsurface tile drainage can be used to reduce overhead irrigation usage by effectively managing water from below.

Outreach Project

Lack of knowledge regarding Resistance Management (RM) and pesticide Modes of Action (MoA) was identified by providers as a hindrance to their ability to educate growers on these topics.  Most (>80%) extension specialists surveyed have never attended formal classes on RM and MoA during their academic or professional careers.  The project will address this need by conducting 4 webinars, providing Moodle resources, and producing a PowerPoint teaching module and accompanying video. The webinars will provide interactive, educational forums that focus on the basic principles of RM and MoA while also highlighting areas of special concern for Northeastern agriculture. Augmenting the training with the Moodle platform will allow attendees to confirm their common ground of understanding and knowledge, from which they can then extend to the grower community.  To ensure that a unified approach to RM is taught across the region, participants will be provided with a core module that will serve as the “seed” by which they can then develop a presentation that is tailored to the particular needs of any specific commodity group. 

Outreach Project

Beginning in 2010, project participants at the Universities of Massachusetts and New Hampshire Extensions, along with two local food organizations, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) in western MA and Seacoast Eat Local (SEL) in eastern NH conducted research trials, and collaborated with winter vegetable producers throughout New England on methods for production, storage, and marketing to strengthen this aspect of the regional food system.

Home Lawn & Garden

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

The Pesticide Education Project works closely with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources to educate pesticide users about safe application, state regulation and proper use of pesticides in Massachusetts.

Nutrition

Outreach Project

This research will investigate whether the same type of physical environment needed to promote improved dietary behaviors in families and children will also be effective in older adults. Information gathered will assist nutrition professionals in designing interventions for older adults emphasizing the need for fruits, vegetables and whole grains in the diet and based on factors relevant to them. Results will also be used to design community-wide food and environmental policies.

Outreach Project

The Massachusetts Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) is part of a national effort to improve the nutrition and health of low-income families with young children.

Outreach Project

http://www.umass.edu/safefoodfarm2kid/Good nutrition is important for growing children. Incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables at an early age is the best way to develop healthy eating habits that will last for a lifetime.  However, young children are at a greater risk for food borne illness if fresh produce is not handled properly.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, plant based food products were responsible for approximately 46% of all foodborne illnesses from 1998 – 2008. Through a USDA NIFA grant, the project investigators identified the produce-handling practices, attitudes, and knowledge of early childcare educators and foodservice staff in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  Nearly half the centers assessed used some combination of farm visits, planting gardens, serving local produce, holding taste tests or conducting nutrition education.  Only 63%, however, reported that children always wash hands after picking garden foods; and only 50% used clean containers to harvest fruits and vegetables.  These results were used to develop and implement a food safety curriculum in two formats:  an interactive online program as well as in-person workshops.

Outreach Project

This research will examine the links between food practices in the Cambodian-American community and health risks among pregnant and post-partum Cambodian women in the United States. More than half of all Cambodian Americans live below the poverty line and a significant number are at high risk for food insecurity and hunger.

Outreach Project

The School Meals Accountability and Responsibility Training Tools (SMARTTs) project was developed by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MA DESE) in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Extension Nutrition Education Program (NEP) and Labor Management Workplace Education Program (LMWEP) with funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to improve and increase:

Responsibility - Through training of Local Educational Agency (LEA) administrative personnel in application, certification, verification, meal counting and meal claiming procedures.

Accountability - With technology improvements, which demonstrate an ability to address administrative errors through the use of targeted monitoring and increased training in error-prone LEAs.

Oversight and training activities focused on the nutritional quality of the meals.

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

The UMass Extension SNAP-Ed program is part of a national nutrition education effort funded through the US Department of Agriculture's Supplemental Assistance Program (SNAP). The overarching goal of SNAP-Ed is to provide nutrition education programs and activities that help adults and youth eligible for SNAP to establish healthy eating habits and physically active lifestyles.

Commercial Horticulture

Outreach Project

In order to meet sustainability standards being mandated by customers and to ensure long-term viability for their farms, cranberry growers have recognized the need for improvement in water, nutrient, and pest management.  Improvements in these practices have great potential for cost savings and for environmental enhancement and will eventually be required under any adopted sustainability certification program.  Major Massachusetts cranberry insect, weed, and disease pests are cranberry fruitworm, dodder, and fruit rot, respectively.  These pests also challenge cranberry production in other U. S. regions including, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Washington, and Oregon.  The use of conventional pesticides is the predominant approach employed to control these pests.  Long-term sustainability for the Massachusetts cranberry industry requires the integration of reduced-risk pest management alternatives.

Outreach Project

Few athletic field studies have been conducted to relate actual field conditions as well as maintenance practices to reported injuries.  The aim of this study was to determine the level of use that an athletic field will sustain before field conditions begin to affect the playability and safety of the field.

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

The University of Massachusetts Amherst recognizes the importance of reliable and prompt diagnosis of plant problems for the turf, floriculture, vegetable, nursery, urban forestry and landscape industries. We serve farmers, horticulturists, landscape contractors, turf managers, arborists, nurseries, and others in agriculture and the green industries.  The lab also assesses ticks for Lyme disease as a service to the public.

Outreach Project

Video 2 of 3

Best Management Practices are commonly implemented on golf courses to minimize the movement of pesticides and nutrients. One such practice is the use of vegetative filter strips (VFS) to intercept runoff and help protect the quality of groundwater and adjacent surface water. Research at UMass is ongoing to identify the best-suited plant material and most appropriate planting techniques to ensure effective vegetative filter strips.

Outreach Project

Video 1 of 3

One of the key missions of the UMass Extension Turf Program is to promote natural resource protection through responsible turf management. The following featured videos profile current UMass research for which the primary focus is the conservation and protection of one of our most precious natural resources: water.

Outreach Project

Video 3 of 3

Lawn and recreational turf can require significant amounts of irrigation to maintain turf function and use. Practices that lower water requirements are especially important as water restrictions and demand for water increase. Scheduling irrigation according to actual turfgrass water use rates (ET) reduces waste by replacing only the amount of water lost from the rootzone to turfgrass use. Reference ET values obtained from weather stations must be adjusted using crop coefficients (Kc values) to achieve a more accurate estimate of actual turf ET. This research seeks to address the current lack of ET data and Kc values specific for climatic conditions and management of recreational turf typical of New England.

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

The University of Massachusetts Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Laboratory offers accurate and affordable analytical testing of soil, plant tissue, compost, and soilless greenhouse media.

Outreach Project

The Turf Pathology and Breeding Laboratory at the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, University of Massachusetts Amherst has been awarded a three-year research grant (2013-2016) from the United States Golf Association Green Section. The proposed study will compare the soil microbial communities and soil compositions between an organically and a conventionally managed golf course on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts using Next Generation Sequencing techniques.

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

The goal of the UMass Extension Sustainable Cranberry Project is to provide cranberry growers with pertinent and timely information so they may sustain their operations in Southeastern Massachusetts.

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

The Sustainable Greenhouse Management project will undertake applied research and educational opportunities to address key problems and opportunities facing the industry and the public.

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

 To foster and prolong the growth of the industry in Massachusetts, the Sustainable Landscape Management and Nursery Production project teaches integrated pest management practices and environmental stewardship strategies to municipal and private landscape professionals, nursery growers and home gardeners.

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

The UMass Extension Sustainable Turf Management Project helps turf managers and other interested individuals, organizations and communities meet turf management challenges by providing research based information disseminated through a comprehensive array of workshops, courses, newsletters, websites, educational presentations, field days, and site consultations.

Community & Economic Vitality

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

The 4-H Sustainable Communities Project will engage young people in the city of Springfield in the out of school time hours to provide educational enrichment and promote life skills development. An area of national and local need that has been identified by the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, National 4-H Council and UMass Extension 4-H is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math education (STEM).

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

This project addresses the needs for IPM programming to serve the Massachusetts urban population. Through partnerships and collaborations, educational and service programs will be provided that encompass the structural pest control industry, bed bugs, Lyme disease, and IPM in K-12 schools, institutions of higher learning and the health care industry.

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

The aim of this collaboration between the UMass College of Natural Sciences and the Massachusetts Envirothon is to encourage high school age young people to develop the science literacy, citizen skills, and knowledge of routes to further education and careers that will allow them to participate responsibly and effectively in natural resource conservation and land use decisions in Massachusetts communities.

Outreach Project

This research project will examine the factors that influence how lower-income individuals and households make a variety of energy-related decisions, including consumption behaviors and sourcing choices.

Outreach Project

The Massachusetts Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) is part of a national effort to improve the nutrition and health of low-income families with young children.

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

After years of decline, many American cities are experiencing growth and renewal. In the first decades of the new century a host of U.S. cities saw increases in urban employment and population along with decreased rates of poverty and crime (McDonald, 2008). For the last three years, data show American cities growing faster than their surrounding suburbs (Voith & Wachter, 2014).

Still, the urban resurgence is not happening everywhere (Ehrenhalt, 2012). This is especially true for the country’s traditional manufacturing centers, or “legacy” cities such as Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo (Mallach, 2012). A similar situation can be seen in Massachusetts where the state’s so-called “Gateway Cities,” the former manufacturing centers that once provided a “gateway to the middle class,” lag behind more prosperous areas such as Boston and its suburbs (Forman, 2009). For this study, the term “legacy city” is used to describe former manufacturing centers, in general. The term “Gateway City” is used to describe former manufacturing centers located in Massachusetts.

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

The UMass Extension SNAP-Ed program is part of a national nutrition education effort funded through the US Department of Agriculture's Supplemental Assistance Program (SNAP). The overarching goal of SNAP-Ed is to provide nutrition education programs and activities that help adults and youth eligible for SNAP to establish healthy eating habits and physically active lifestyles.

Environmental Conservation

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

The Building Energy Extension Program conveys current energy efficiency, renewable energy, and building science information to stakeholders including those in the building trades, design professionals, state government agencies, and building owners and occupants through workshops, web publication, and consulting. Applied research in building energy systems and is conducted to respond to perceived stakeholder need.

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

The Citizen Planner Training Collaborative (CPTC) provides local planning and zoning officials with up-to-date learning tools to make effective decisions regarding their communities' current and future land use.

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

This project addresses the needs for IPM programming to serve the Massachusetts urban population. Through partnerships and collaborations, educational and service programs will be provided that encompass the structural pest control industry, bed bugs, Lyme disease, and IPM in K-12 schools, institutions of higher learning and the health care industry.

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

The aim of this collaboration between the UMass College of Natural Sciences and the Massachusetts Envirothon is to encourage high school age young people to develop the science literacy, citizen skills, and knowledge of routes to further education and careers that will allow them to participate responsibly and effectively in natural resource conservation and land use decisions in Massachusetts communities.

Outreach Project

This research project will examine the factors that influence how lower-income individuals and households make a variety of energy-related decisions, including consumption behaviors and sourcing choices.

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

Wildlife Conservation engages in applied research and provides information, educational materials and programs based on current research to promote wildlife conservation including efforts to better understand the impacts of roads and highways on wildlife and ecosystems and to develop and evaluate techniques for mitigating those impacts.

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

Family forest lands provide tremendous amounts of wood products and ecosystem services in the U.S, particularly in the northeast where 52% of the land is held by family forest owners (FFOs). Due to an aging landowner population, in the coming years, almost half of the FFOs in the U.S. will be deciding the future of their land (i.e., convert to another use, parcelize, conserve). These decisions will be the most important determinants of the viability of working forests, because forest cover loss and parcel size reductions eliminate or lessen forest management opportunities. Stabilizing the forest land base by stemming the tide of conversion and parcelization is critical to ensuring a future of viable and competitive working forested landscapes.

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

MASTEP is a "Stormwater Clearinghouse" web site, with a searchable database of verified technical information on stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) to provide information on innovative technologies to BMP users.

Outreach Project

Video 1 of 3

One of the key missions of the UMass Extension Turf Program is to promote natural resource protection through responsible turf management. The following featured videos profile current UMass research for which the primary focus is the conservation and protection of one of our most precious natural resources: water.

Youth Development and 4-H

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

The 4-H Military Project connects children ages 5-18 with educational, recreational and social activities before, during and after the deployment of a parent.  The project provides direct assistance to military children and families and educates the broader community on the effects of deployment on children to ensure that all Massachusetts military youth are safe, healthy, and supported.

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

Since 1919, the Massachusetts 4-H Program has provided support, resources and educational opportunities to Massachusetts youth. The mission of Massachusetts 4-H is to prepare youth to become independent and contributing members of society by providing them with the tools they need to be successful.

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

The 4-H Sustainable Communities Project will engage young people in the city of Springfield in the out of school time hours to provide educational enrichment and promote life skills development. An area of national and local need that has been identified by the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, National 4-H Council and UMass Extension 4-H is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math education (STEM).

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

The 4-H Tech Wizards program is designed to expose youth to technology, help them understand how to better utilize it, have some experiences with it and learn about different possible careers that involve technology.  

Energy

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

The Building Energy Extension Program conveys current energy efficiency, renewable energy, and building science information to stakeholders including those in the building trades, design professionals, state government agencies, and building owners and occupants through workshops, web publication, and consulting. Applied research in building energy systems and is conducted to respond to perceived stakeholder need.

Outreach Project

This research project will examine the factors that influence how lower-income individuals and households make a variety of energy-related decisions, including consumption behaviors and sourcing choices.

Outreach Project

UMass Clean Energy Extension is coordinating with DOER and the State Geologist Stephen Mabee and Five College Professor Michael Rhodes, Department of Geosciences, to conduct geological explorations to identify potential near surface bedrock for direct geothermal heating in Massachusetts.

Outreach Project

The Clean Energy Extension has reached out to MassDEP and received its public database of over 7000 boiler and turbines permitted across its four state regions.  The extension will use this database to develop a GIS depiction and analysis of the boilers to target businesses and institutions for CHP, renewable thermal, and district energy opportunities.

Outreach Project

Project Goals: (1) To motivate the use and development of data center facilities, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, to support the IT and knowledge economies, by quantifying the energy savings from using newer data center technologies that are emerging. (2) To suggest simple ways to improve the energy-efficiency hosting servers on campuses or in office settings, either by improving the efficiency of existing server closets or using a prototype of a free air cooling system. 

Outreach Project

This project focused on shelled corn, a renewable heat source that can be grown and used in Massachusetts more cheaply than fossil fuels, using available and proven technology. Changing to energy sources that can be produced locally, travel a short distance from producer to user, and that have a high ratio of energy output to fossil fuel input is key to a viable future for farming in Massachusetts.

Outreach Project

Since poorly performing buildings are not only uncomfortable energy intensive and more expensive to operate, this project will promote energy efficient operations and management practices in educational and public/commercial buildings in Massachusetts by improving and calibrating control strategies for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.

Outreach Project

To investigate the potential for large-scale energy storage in the Massachusetts electrical supply as the penetration of non-dispatchable renewable energy sources increases.

Outreach Project

To study potential for sequestration of forest carbon in agricultural soils in Massachusetts, based on availability of woody biomass, availability of suitable soils for biochar application, commercially available pyrolysis technology, and estimated biochar production cost.

Outreach Project

To further develop the Smart Solar concept in which solar electric systems are made capable of self-regulating their power output based on the needs of the larger grid, resulting in greater solar penetration and increased grid stability.

Outreach Project

The study will utilize statistical/econometric modeling tools to estimate the impact of individual state-level policies on the growth of solar PV capacity at the commercial scale.

NIFA Planned Extension Initiative

The Sustainable Greenhouse Management project will undertake applied research and educational opportunities to address key problems and opportunities facing the industry and the public.

Water

Outreach Project

In order to meet sustainability standards being mandated by customers and to ensure long-term viability for their farms, cranberry growers have recognized the need for improvement in water, nutrient, and pest management.  Improvements in these practices have great potential for cost savings and for environmental enhancement and will eventually be required under any adopted sustainability certification program.  Major Massachusetts cranberry insect, weed, and disease pests are cranberry fruitworm, dodder, and fruit rot, respectively.  These pests also challenge cranberry production in other U. S. regions including, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Washington, and Oregon.  The use of conventional pesticides is the predominant approach employed to control these pests.  Long-term sustainability for the Massachusetts cranberry industry requires the integration of reduced-risk pest management alternatives.

Outreach Project

Video 2 of 3

Best Management Practices are commonly implemented on golf courses to minimize the movement of pesticides and nutrients. One such practice is the use of vegetative filter strips (VFS) to intercept runoff and help protect the quality of groundwater and adjacent surface water. Research at UMass is ongoing to identify the best-suited plant material and most appropriate planting techniques to ensure effective vegetative filter strips.

Outreach Project

Reduced and modified tillage (RT) systems (e.g. no-, zone-, strip) represent strategies to reduce soil degradation and erosion and protect water quality. Previous research has shown that these tillage systems can provide the environmental and economic benefits of a RT system for many vegetable crops without the harvest delays or losses observed in straight no-till.

Outreach Project

Video 1 of 3

One of the key missions of the UMass Extension Turf Program is to promote natural resource protection through responsible turf management. The following featured videos profile current UMass research for which the primary focus is the conservation and protection of one of our most precious natural resources: water.

Outreach Project

Video 3 of 3

Lawn and recreational turf can require significant amounts of irrigation to maintain turf function and use. Practices that lower water requirements are especially important as water restrictions and demand for water increase. Scheduling irrigation according to actual turfgrass water use rates (ET) reduces waste by replacing only the amount of water lost from the rootzone to turfgrass use. Reference ET values obtained from weather stations must be adjusted using crop coefficients (Kc values) to achieve a more accurate estimate of actual turf ET. This research seeks to address the current lack of ET data and Kc values specific for climatic conditions and management of recreational turf typical of New England.

Outreach Project

Maintaining optimal saturation levels and draining ponded water remains a challenge for many cranberry growers in southeastern Massachusetts.  Wet conditions as a result of inadequate drainage in cranberry production could result in increased root rot and fruit rot diseases, inhibition of root development, reduced fruit retention and reduced productivity.  Subsurface tile drainage provides a mechanism for removing excess moisture from the soils by draining to field capacity in a reasonable time so that plant growth is not significantly impaired. Without artificial drainage, plants have difficulty establishing a healthy root system on poorly drained soils since excess water prevents air and oxygen from getting to the plant root zone. In addition, subsurface tile drainage can be used to reduce overhead irrigation usage by effectively managing water from below.