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UMass Amherst Cranberry Research Center to Receive $5.75 Million to Upgrade Laboratory

UMass Cranberry Station  from the air The University of Massachusetts Cranberry Station in East Wareham will receive $5.75 million in new state support to fund laboratory improvements to its facilities. Funding for renovations to the facility have also come from $2M committed by UMass Amherst in 2018. 

“Cranberries are one of Massachusetts’ signature agricultural products, and this funding will support vital research that ensures the cranberry industry will remain a thriving and sustainable sector in the Commonwealth for generations to come,” said Gov. Charlie Baker in a statement. 

“The research made possible through these important upgrades to the Cranberry Station’s lab capacity will provide significant benefits to this historic sector of Massachusetts’ agricultural economy,” said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. “As the cranberry industry continues to work to increase the sustainability of production while adjusting to a changing climate, this research will lead to important strategies for water conservation and pest control.”

The new funding, which includes $5 million in capital spending authorized in the 2018 Environmental Bond Bill and a $750,000 grant from the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM), will be used by the Cranberry Station to modernize and expand its research facilities, improve the environmental profile of the facility, and provide the research tools needed to support vigorous research programs in cranberry water, pest, and nutrient management. 

The Cranberry Station is an outreach and research center charged with the mission of maintaining and enhancing the economic viability of the Massachusetts cranberry industry along with protection of the environment. The center works on issues related to cranberries such as weed management, plant nutrition and physiology, and integrated pest management (IPM) practices.  The project will include renovation of existing laboratory space, the addition of two new finished laboratories and three future laboratories, the addition of a meeting space, and faculty offices. 

UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy credited Sen. Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport) and Rep. Bill Straus (D-Mattapoisett) with spearheading the funding request with Baker’s administration. In 2016, the Massachusetts Cranberry Revitalization Task Force was created to assess the state of the industry, of which Massachusetts Sen. Rodrigues and Rep. Straus were members. The two legislators are also co-chairs of the Governor-appointed UMass Cranberry Station Oversight Board. They helped to identify innovation in crop production as one of its key recommendations for sustaining growers in southeastern Massachusetts. The task force specifically cited the need for funding infrastructure upgrades to the Cranberry Station, which has been a leader in cranberry research since 1910, to support research and outreach focused on the industry’s barriers to sustainability.  The project is expected to break ground in the winter of 2020 with completion expected by the summer of 2022.   

“As the flagship university of the Commonwealth, UMass Amherst is proud to play a pivotal research and development role in this essential agricultural industry, which harkens back to our roots as a land grant college,” said UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy. “We are excited that this work will continue and will thrive in a state-of-the-art facility for decades to come.”  

For more information on research at the UMass Cranberry Station, click here.