For the last 4 years several researchers and extension specialists have been trying to secure federal or state agricultural research funds to try to address problems facing southern pea growers in the South. Unfortunately, southern pea is a minor crop even among the other minor vegetable crops and typically gets overlooked by granting agencies in deference to crops with larger acreage that might affect more growers. Even so we’ve persisted in trying to draw attention to the crop’s most serious production problems, including curculios.
Fortunately, a small planning grant was funded by the USDA Southern IPM Center in 2016 that allows our small group to make some forward progress on addressing southern peas production problems and solutions. The group consists of myself as Project Director, D. G. Riley (UGA), Alton “Stormy” Sparks (UGA), Jason Schmidt (UGA), Bhabesh Dutta (UGA), Timothy Grey (UGA) Tim Coolong (UGA), Greg Fonsah (UGA), Mike Toews (UGA), C.T. Harvey, (Fresh Frozen Foods, Inc.), Matthew Blair (TSU), Fitzroy Bullock (TSU), Finnis Stribling (TSU), Fred Eller (USDA ARS NCAUR), J. Powell Smith (Clemson U), and Henry Fadamiro (Auburn U). The activities the SIPMC grant is helping to fund include the development of the website USVigna.org , a southern pea survey, and the planning meeting detailed in the section above.