The U.S. Department of Agriculture (ARS) Agrees to Collaborate and Grow Strawberries Using Affinor Grower’s Vertical Farming Technology
This landmark agreement will allow the USDA Agricultural Research Service, one of the world’s premier scientific organizations, to work with Affinor’s vertical farming technology.
The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s scientific in-house research agency. ARS conducts research to develop and transfer solutions to agricultural problems of high national priority and will use Affinor’s technology to produce strawberries indoors in the ARS facility in Kearneysville, WV and in the controlled environment at Affinor’s facility in Quebec, Canada.
The ARS is the agency within the mission area of the Research, Education and Economics of the USDA. Congress set the ARS annual budget for fiscal year 2015 at $1.1 billion on the basis of the President’s proposed budget and research priorities. The overall objective of this collaboration with Affinor is to increase productivity and profitability of strawberry production in controlled environments such as vertical indoor farming, plant factories, greenhouses and other harvesting systems.
Under the CRADA, ARS will continue to develop and test methods of disease control in order to determine best practices for commercialization and to update the patent’s technological methods and procedures, using Affinor’s vertical farming equipment. Strawberry crop production will be evaluated by ARS using a unique, self-contained, vertical growing system provided to the USDA-ARS by Affinor.
A goal of the research is to define a new disease management protocol and identify and grow microbial antagonists with strawberry transplants of named varieties that are currently available in the US and Canada.
ARS also has a patent-pending technology (USPTO Application No. 14/247,948) that it is bringing to the project for control of fungal pathogens using a combination of ultraviolet radiation followed by antagonist application and a dark period.
Dr. Fumi Takeda, of USDA-ARS, comments: “The Kearneysville team is anxious to start this research project and notes that vertical farming has received new interest and funding in the past year.”
Nick Brusatore, Affinor’s Chairman, comments: “I am honored to be working with Dr Takeda and the USDA with respect to strawberry production. Working with such a sophisticated team will show strong transparency and validation to Affinor and the technology. Affinor’s plans are very focused in berry production to ensure local grow mechanically pollinated strawberry’s year round any where in the world with no pesticide use and minimal water usage along with automation from propagation to retail package in stores. We look forward to bringing together the two country’s Canada and the USA and its top scientists in Agriculture to mass produce strawberry’s to help sustain strawberry production in North America and eventually the rest of the globe.”
Dr. Hyder A. Khoja, Affinor’s Chief Scientific Officer, comments: “Strawberry production in North America has been facing significant changes in critical management practices. With USDA-ARS collaboration we are furthering our efforts to validate “Vertical Farming Technology” with the help from their dedicated team of scientist to our Co-operative Research and Development Agreement. Our overall objective from this very keen partnership is to suffice the consumer demand with robust, consistent and disease free strawberries. Affinor’s global patent for Vertical Farming Technology helps to achieve global demand for this type of research. It is noted that this Affinor patent is not just limited to strawberries or blackberries but many other medicinal valued plant herbs. This will validate our data and replication strategies for our long term goals for plant production. I am very pleased to work on this Co-operative Research and Development Agreement on the behalf of Affinor.”
About Affinor Growers Inc.
Affinor Growers is a diversified publicly traded company on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the symbol (“AFI”). Affinor is focused on growing high quality crops such as romaine lettuce, spinach, strawberries and high quality medical Marijuana. Affinor is committed to becoming a pre-eminent grower, using exclusive vertical farming techniques.
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AFFINOR GROWERS INC.
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