• Overview
  • Form and Tools
  • Operational Policies
  • Program History
  • Strategic Plan
  • Overview

    News

    Projects submitted for consideration in FY2011 were not funded due to the current federal budget Continuing Resolution. Faculty with a FY2008 TSTAR must submit final reports to Mark Trujillo on or before October 5, 2011.

    Faculty with FY2009 or FY2010 TSTAR projects must submit CRIS Progress Reports by the CRIS deadlines. Contact Conroy Smith if you are having difficulty with a CRIS submission.

    If you need more information about the TSTAR program, contact Mark Trujillo, T-STAR Assistant at (352) 392-7141.

    About T-STAR

    The T-STAR Caribbean program in tropical/subtropical agriculture research is administered under the direction of a Technical Committee (known as CAG) made up of representatives of three participating universities, the Executive Director of the Southern Association of Experiment Station Directors, USDA/CSREES and USDA/ARS.  The three universities are: The University of Florida, the University of Puerto Rico and the University of the Virgin Islands.  Currently these representatives are:

    • Dr. Douglas Archer,  Program Manager for the Caribbean Administrative Group, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
      dlarcher@ufl.edu

    • Dr. Vivian Carro, Assistant Dean, University of Puerto Rico vcarro@uprm.edu

    • Dr. Bob Godfrey, Assistant Director, University of the Virgin Islands
      rgodfre@uvi.edu

    • Dr. Eric Young, Executive Director, Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors
      eyoung@ncsu.edu

    • Dr. Mervalin Morant, Program Manager, USDA/CSREES, Washington, D.C.
      mmorant@csrees.usda.gov

    • Dr. Ricardo Goenaga, USDA/ARS  Director, Tropical Agriculture Research Station, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.
      Ricardo.goenaga@ars.usda.gov

    • Dr. Wayne Smith, Peer Review Coordinator for TSTAR-C, University of Florida, PO Box 110337, Gainesville, Florida  32611-0337.

  • Form and Tools

  • Operational Policies

    1. 0.0 Preamble
    2. 1.0 Research Proposals of Interest
    3. 2.0 Geographic Area of Interest
    4. 3.0 TSTAR-CARIBBEAN Program Management
    5. 4.0 TSTAR-CARIBBEAN Technical Committee
    6. 5.0 Technical Committee Membership
    7. 6.0 Management of Project Funds
    8. 7.0 TRAVEL - Domestic and Foreign
    9. 8.0 Research Documentation
    10. 9.0 Cooperation Between Institutions
    11. 10.0 Training Opportunities
    12. 11.0 T-STAR Sponsored Workshops

    0.0 Preamble

    Since 1984, TSTAR-Caribbean (formerly known as "CBAG") at its semiannual meetings has made policy decisions regarding operations of the T-STAR research program in tropical and subtropical agriculture in the Caribbean Basin funded through grants from USDA/CSREES. These policy decisions provide guidelines for the three participating universities. After several years, it became necessary to document these periodic decisions in one place for use by members and others interested in the program. The information has become vital to new university administrators and to university faculty members desiring to obtain a TSTAR grant for the first time. This population changes quite often. This document is "dynamic", in the sense that it changes as TSTAR-Caribbean makes new decisions or changes existing decisions regarding operational policies. Therefore, the document is revised periodically as required by such changes. Experience has shown that the document is invaluable to new members of TSTAR-Caribbean to allow them to become familiar with the operational policies as soon as possible and to prevent repeated questions that have been resolved previously by TSTAR-Caribbean.

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    1.0 Research Proposals of Interest to TSTAR

    1.01 TSTAR funds research proposals that most closely are targeted toward the goals, objectives and research priorities as presented in the TSTAR Strategic Research Plan.

    1.02 Occasionally, TSTAR will announce special problems of an emergency nature that require immediate research effort that may not be identified clearly in the Strategic Plan. In this event, a RFP is issued for distribution to the faculties.

    1.03 TSTAR assigns priority to research proposals involving studies that will result in specific benefits to both U. S. Caribbean and U. S. Continental agriculture.

    1.04 TSTAR assigns priority to research proposals that clearly can be implemented and completed within three years. Therefore, it is important to select a research problem, or a component of a research problem, that can be accomplished during the tenure of the project.

    1.05 TSTAR will not consider proposals that represent long-range programs extending over many years and cannot be completed during the tenure of a limited-time research project. The proposer is challenged to define clearly a research problem with clear objectives that reasonably can be expected to be researched to completion during the life of the project.

    1.06 Research proposals are due in the TSTAR-Caribbean Program Management Office on November 1st of each year. Institutions should request proposals from their faculties in August of each year with a "Letter of Intent" due on October 1st of that year. The T-STAR-Caribbean Administrative Group (TSTAR-CAG) selects new projects for funding in April, and initial funding to the institutions from USDA is targeted toward July 1 to September 30 each year.

    1.07 Research proposals that are candidates for T-STAR-Caribbean funding are subjected to the "peer review" process. The results of the peer review are only one factor in the decision process by members of TSTAR-CAG in selecting proposals for funding. Other factors include: Balance in overall program; current topic priorities; unique research opportunities; and unique contributions to Caribbean Basin and U.S. Continental agriculture.

    1.08 The decision process followed by the Technical Committee to select new research proposals for initial funding is a four-step process represented by the following model:

    PR + CO + RD + PB = The Program.

    In this model PR is peer review; CO is consensus opinion; RD is resolution of differences; and PB is program balance. After consideration of some of the factors cited in Paragraph 1.07, the results of the total process make up the program for the three participating institutions.

    1.09 Normally, grant proposals are accepted only from faculty members who are on the FL, PR, or VI State Agricultural Experiment Station Faculty/Staff. The exception to this requirement is when a specific technical capability is needed but is not available in the Experiment Station Faculty/Staff.

     

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    2.0 Geographic Area of Interest

    2.01 The Project Directors of TSTAR-Caribbean-sponsored research projects must be a member of the faculty of one of the three participating institutions (Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands). These are the three U. S. Land-Grant institutions in the U. S. Caribbean. Therefore, the research under these projects primarily is conducted within the boundaries of these three areas. TSTAR-Caribbean funds cannot be allocated to foreign institutions.

    2.02 TSTAR-Caribbean policy does permit faculty members to conduct studies in non-US Caribbean countries for certain specific technical problems. These include the following:

    2.021   Germplasm research, collection and improvement that benefits the objectives of U. S. agricultural germplasm interests.

    2.022   Plant disease that represents a threat to U. S. agriculture.

    2.023   Insect or weed pests that represents a threat to U. S. agriculture.

    2.024   Discovery and evaluation of a biocontrol agent for a pest of U. S. agricultural commodities.

    2.025 Availability of a special research facility needed to research problems in the above four categories.

    These exceptions present an opportunity to learn more about potential problems for U. S. agriculture before their introduction into the U. S., or to obtain biocontrol agents for pests that have already been introduced into the U. S.

     

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    3.0 TSTAR-Caribbean Program Management

    3.01 Nationally, the T-STAR-Caribbean program is administered by USDA/CSREES under the terms described in "Special Terms and Conditions, Federal Demonstration Project" issued by USDA/CSREES originally in March of 1989. This document is updated periodically. Grant administrators at the participating universities should be thoroughly familiar with the terms and conditions set forth in this document which apply to all three institutions.

    3.02 The Grantee institutions are authorized to make certain line item budgetary changes as requested by the Project Director. Project Directors should contact the Grant administration office of their institution to request such changes. At the University of Florida, IFAS, the appropriate office is the IFAS Sponsored Research Programs (IFAS Grants Office - Telephone 352-392-2356). At the University of Puerto Rico and the University of the Virgin Islands, Project Directors should contact appropriate personnel in the Office of the Experiment Station Director.

    3.03 The limitations on line item budget changes by participating institutions are established by "Special Terms and Conditions, Federal Demonstration Project" cited in Paragraph 3.01 above.

    3.04 The Grantee institutions are authorized to approve "No-Cost Extensions" up to one (1) year beyond the original termination date. The institution must notify USDA/CSREES with a copy to the TSTAR Caribbean Program Manager.

    3.05 No-Cost Extensions longer than one (1) year require the approval of institution officials and the approval of USDA/CSREES/OGPS.  A written approval will be issued by USDA.

    3.06 TSTAR-Caribbean is favorable of requests for No-Cost Extensions for the purposes of: (a) completing unfinished research, (b) data processing, and (c) preparing manuscripts for publication. However, funding ends three (3) years after the original starting date. Funds remaining after three years, will be returned to the U.S. Treasury.

    3.07 In no case can a Grant extend three (3) years beyond the original starting date. Any funds remaining three (3) years after the original starting date are returned to the U. S. Treasury.

    3.08 Requests for No-Cost Extensions should be submitted well before the Grant termination date. USDA/CSREES/OGPS normally will not honor requests for extensions dated after the Grant termination date.

    3.09 Grantee institutions should notify the TSTAR-Caribbean Program Manager immediately when there is a change in Project Directors on an on-going TSTAR-Caribbean Grant. The accurate and timely identity of the Project Directors is a very important record for USDA/CSREES/OGPS. An official record must be submitted to CSREES and should include the curriculum vitae for the new PI, and a letter signed by the PI indicating his/her acceptance of the position of PI.

    3.10  Project Directors may propose and implement subcontracts in their research Grants. Subcontracts may be used to attain technical capabilities, use of specialized equipment, or specialized technical methodologies required to conduct the research. Subcontracts may be issued to faculty members at participating or non-participating universities, state and federal agencies, commercial and private organizations and other appropriate research organizations. However, subcontracts cannot be issued to foreign institutions or agencies without specific written approval of USDA/CSREES.

    3.11   If a subcontract amounts to 20 percent or greater of the grant total dollar award, the Project Directors (PD) cannot redirect funds allocated for the subcontract for other research activities or equipment without the written approval of the TSTAR-Administrative Committee (TSTAR-CAG). The PD must request in writing such approval from the TSTAR-CAG. If an active PD determines that an approved subcontract cannot be implemented during any given year of the Grant award, the PD cannot obligate those funds and must advise the TSTAR-CAG in writing as soon as possible. The PD can present a proposed use of these funds to the TSTAR-CAG. The TSTAR-CAG, during it's Spring Meeting, will reallocate those funds for either the PD's proposed use or for other research activity the TSTAR-CAG deems of higher priority program needs.

     

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    4.0 TSTAR-Caribbean Administrative Group Meetings

    4.01 The TSTAR-Caribbean Administrative Group is "TSTAR-CAG".

    4.02 TSTAR-CAG conducts a "Spring" and "Fall" meeting as well as a Summer meeting in conjunction with the Caribbean Food Crops Society annual meeting.

    4.03 The "Spring" meeting is scheduled in March-April in Washington, DC for the following activities:

    (a) Review and evaluate Project Progress Reports from the PD(s).

    (b) Allocate renewal funding to on-going projects based satisfactory progress as presented in Progress Reports, or on emergency needs as presented by Institution representatives.

    (c) Allocate annual funding to program management operations.

    (d) Select and allocate first and second year funding to new research projects based on criteria presented previously.

    (e) Meet with the TSTAR-Pacific Administrative Group for overall TSTAR program matters, including updating of the T-STAR Strategic Plan.

    (f) Make decisions on program management business matters.

    4.04 The "Fall" meeting is scheduled in October-November for the following activities:

    (a) Review and evaluate the T-STAR research at a selected site of one of the participating institutions.

    (b) Meet and hear presentations by the PD(s) of T-STAR projects.

    (c) Make decisions on program management business matters.

    ( NOTE: The Fall meetings are rotated annually among the three participating institutions.)

    4.05 Upon agreement with TSTAR-Pacific, every second year the Fall meeting will be a joint meeting rotated between the Pacific and Caribbean Basins.

    4.06 The Minutes of the Spring and Fall meetings are documented by the T-STAR-Caribbean Program Manager, and are reviewed by all members for completeness and accuracy.

    4.07 The T-STAR-Caribbean archives are maintained in the office of the Program Manager.

    4.08 The T-STAR Administrative Group meets at the Caribbean Food Crops Society
    Conference which is held annually in late July at a Caribbean location.

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    5.0 Membership in the TSTAR Administrative Group

    5.01 Voting members of the TSTAR-CAG include the following:

    (a) Director (or the Director's designee) of the Experiment Stations of the three participating universities.

    (b) The Executive Director, Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors.

    (c) The representative of USDA/CSREES.

    (d) The representative of USDA/ARS

    5.02 Non-voting members of the TSTAR-CAG include:

    (a) The T-STAR-Caribbean Program Manager, except for the purpose of breaking a tie vote.

    (b) Other university personnel selected by the Experiment Station Director to participate in the meeting.

    (c) Guests.

    5.03 The Chair of the TSTAR-CAG is selected by vote of the TSTAR-CAG during the annual Fall Meeting. The tenure of the selected Chair may be at the discretion of the TSTAR-CAG .

    5.04 USDA/CSREES/OGPS awards a "Management Grant" to the "lead" University to be used for contracting with the T-STAR-Caribbean Program Manager who functions at the direction of the TSTAR-CAG. The Program Manager is charged with the following duties:

    (a) Processing all paperwork required to peer review, select, fund, conduct and report the research projects.

    (b) As requested, provide information and analytical data about the research program.

    (c) Work with Workshop Organizing Committees to plan, conduct and report approved Workshops.

    (d) Maintain interactions with T-STAR-Pacific.

    (e) Maintain interactions with USDA/CSREES.

    (f) Maintain current and archival records.

    (g) Work with T-STAR-Pacific in maintaining the T-STAR World Wide Web page.

    (h) Work with Project Directors in assembling impact stories for the TSTAR website, Research highlights section.

    (i) Other duties as assigned by the TSTAR-CAG.


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    6.0 Management of Project Funds

    6.01 T-STAR-Caribbean-sponsored Grants are funded initially for two years upfront based on Congressional appropriations to the USDA/CSREES Program of Special Grants in Tropical/Subtropical Agriculture administered under PL 89-106

    6.02 Funds allocated to a T-STAR-Caribbean research project should not be used to pay salaries of Project Directors or other permanent faculty or staff of the participating institutions.

    6.03 T-STAR-Caribbean does not favor procurement of costly non-expendable equipment on T-STAR-Caribbean Grants. Availability of appropriate equipment required for the proposed research is a measure of the institution's "readiness" for conducting the research proposed by members of its faculty.

    6.04 Universities participating in the TSTAR-Caribbean program are expected to provide on a "cost sharing" basis the following: Salaries of the Project Directors and other permanent personnel, space, experimental plots of land, laboratory and farm equipment, administrative services, and other support personnel and services.

    6.05 Renewal funding is allocated by the TSTAR-Caribbean Administrative Group annually for the third year of currently-active research projects. This decision is part of the March meeting at the time new projects are selected for funding. Renewal funding is based on a Progress Report from the Project Directors that is reviewed by members of the TSTAR-CAG prior to the meeting.

    6.06 Renewal funding allocation levels begin at the level approved by the TSTAR-CAG at the time of initial funding. Adjustments in renewal funding may be made at the end of the second year of the grant. Renewal funding may be reduced based on lack of research progress or significant changes in personnel or the research objectives. Increases in renewal funding must be defended strongly by the Project Directors and the appropriate member of the TSTAR-CAG .

    6.07 TSTAR-Caribbean reserves the right to modify proposed budgets of new research projects, as well as currently on-going projects.

     

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    7.0 TRAVEL - Domestic and Foreign

    7.01 TSTAR-Caribbean supports domestic travel required to perform the approved research to be accomplished in the T-STAR-Caribbean project.

    7.02 TSTAR-Caribbean supports reasonable domestic travel to report the results of funded research.

    7.03 TSTAR-Caribbean does not support attendance to scientific meetings that cannot be justified for reporting results of the research.

    7.04 TSTAR-Caribbean supports international travel under the following requirements:

    (a) To conduct the approved research

    (b) The traveler is the Project Director or Co-Project Director of the project involved.

    (c) A presentation (including poster) is to be made.

    (d) A copy of the presentation (or poster abstract) is attached to the travel request.


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    8.0 Research Documentation

    8.01 TSTAR-Caribbean-sponsored Grants require a Progress Report during the second year of the grant and a Final Report when the Project (Grant) is terminated.  These reports are the CRIS AD421 Progress and Termination reports to CRIS plus the 8.04 requirement below.

    8.02 USDA/CSREES requires a Progress Report when "renewal" funds are requested for the third year. The Progress Report must include a one-page "news release" type informative article in which the research and its economic impact (or potential impact) are explained in language easily understood by the general public.

    8.03 USDA/CSREES expects the results of TSTAR-Caribbean-sponsored research to be published in recognized peer-reviewed scientific journals. Publication should be at least within one year following termination of the Grant. The Program Management office will maintain a record of publications by the PD(s), and lack of publication from a funded Grant may prevent the PD(s) from receiving another TSTAR-Caribbean Grant.

    8.04 In addition to a Final Report, when a TSTAR-Caribbean Grant is terminated, a "news release" type of article in language easily understood by the general public must be provided. This article must contain "economic impact" (or potential impact) information presented in the best possible quantifiable data. These articles will be added to the TSTAR Web page.

    8.05 It is the responsibility of the PD's institution to assure that the PD submits the "impact" statement cited in Section 8.04.

    8.06 Principal Investigators must provide data on economic impacts (or potential impacts) of the results of their research to producers/consumer. Such economic and social benefits should be part of the Final Report and included in the CRIS Termination Report that will be entered into the CRIS national database.

    8.07 Manuscripts based on TSTAR-Caribbean-sponsored Grants, wholly or in part, should acknowledge TSTAR support in a footnote in the following terms:
    "This material is based on research supported by USDA/CSREES Grant No. (Enter number assigned by USDA) in Tropical/ Subtropical Agriculture Research".

    8.08 Publications listed by the PD(s) on Project Progress Reports should be limited to those relating to the current research project only, and not any other period of time.

     

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    9.0 Cooperation Between Institutions

    9.01 TSTAR-Caribbean encourages cooperative research involving scientists at the University of Florida, the University of Puerto Rico, the University of the Virgin Islands and USDA/ARS laboratories. Project Directors also can cooperate with scientists at other universities. However, such cooperation should be an "outreach" of the PD seeking research capabilities or facilities not available otherwise.

    9.02 TSTAR-Caribbean encourages interactions between scientists funded on research projects and the Caribbean Food Crops Society and supports participation in the annual meetings of the Society. The purpose of this policy is to provide opportunities for sponsored scientists to become knowledgeable about research performed by non-U.S. institutions in the Caribbean Basin, to meet the scientists from these institutions and create opportunities for cooperative research.

    9.03 TSTAR encourages joint proposals by members of the faculties of Caribbean and Pacific Basin universities, and encourages their development at the scientist-to-scientist level.

     

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    10.0 Training

    10.01   TSTAR-Caribbean encourages the training of undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students in research methodology through assignment to funded research projects.

    10.02   TSTAR-Caribbean encourages faculty exchanges among the three participating universities and with personnel at USDA/ARS laboratories. Also, activities designed to provide opportunities for faculty "improvement" through participation on T-STAR-Caribbean projects at one of the participating universities is encouraged. If properly planned, there should be opportunities for members of the faculties to be funded during their sabbatical leaves by participation on a TSTAR-Caribbean research project.

     

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    11.0 TSTAR-Caribbean Sponsored Workshops

    11.01 TSTAR-Caribbean attempts to conduct jointly a Workshop on a subject of great interest to both the Caribbean and Pacific Basin every two years.

    11.02   During the "off year" an Organizing Committee is established and directed to plan the next Workshop. Each participating institution provides at least one member of the Organizing Committee.

    11.03   The Workshop plan developed by the Organizing Committee is subject to review by the T-STAR Technical Committee.

    11.04 The Workshop Organizing Committee is responsible for the assembly of a Proceedings following the Workshop. Extra copies of Proceedings are maintained by the Program Manager and are available for world-wide distribution. Selected sections of the Proceedings may be entered into the TSTAR Web page.

    11.05   The recommendations included in Workshop Proceedings may serve as a source of researchable matters for future TSTAR research Grants.

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  • Program History

    Historical Note - T-STAR Special Grant

    The current program in tropical/subtropical agriculture research had its legislative origin in Section 406 appended by PL 89-808. Section 406 was an outgrowth of the World Food Conference held in Rome, Italy, in November 1974. At that conference, representatives from the United States of America announced that the United States could not "feed the world" but would contribute to the assistance of developing countries in efforts to strengthen their own food production capabilities.

    Section 406 authorized the U. S. Secretary of Agriculture to (1) Enter into research contracts and cooperative agreements with Land-Grant Universities and other appropriate research institutions; (2) conduct research on crop and food products and make the results available to friendly developing nations; (3) increase cooperation with the Peace Corps, Agency for International Development, and foundations to accomplish the overall mission of the program; and (4) authorize expenditures up to $33 million annually to accomplish the missions of the program.

    The initial funding to the U. S. Department of Agriculture for research under this program occurred in the late '70s when an appropriation of under $400,000 was allocated to the Agriculture Research Service (ARS). During the first years of operation, research was conducted by ARS and selected cooperating universities. In 1983, the decision was made to reassign the program from ARS to the Cooperative State Research Service (CSRS, now CSREES), USDA, with $735,000 being allocated to the ARS Tropical Agriculture research program and $640,000 of that amount being directed to the Tropical Agriculture Research Station, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. The balance of $2,980,000 available in 1983 was allocated to CSRS for the T-STAR-Caribbean and T-STAR-Pacific programs. Small incremental increases in the appropriation were obtained after1984 until the appropriation became $3,341,000 in Fiscal Year 1990. Each year funding was divided equally between the Caribbean and Pacific Basins. Reductions in appropriations occurred in the '90s bringing the total to about $2.8 million annually, however, funding was increased to $3.8 million in 2001, to $8.0 million annually in 2002, and $9.6 million in 2004 and 2005.

    Research is conducted through Special Grants in Tropical/Subtropical Agriculture Research awarded by USDA-NIFA. Program management in the basins is conducted by the Caribbean and Pacific Administrative Groups (TSTAR-CAG and TSTAR-PAG).

  • Strategic Plan

    Vision & Mission  |  Introduction  | Action Plan for Program Goals

    Vision

    The T-STAR program provides high quality research results which contribute to an improved quality of life for all people in the tropical and subtropical regions of the United States of America.

     

    Mission
    To develop high quality and useful agricultural research which is relevant to industry needs, has a demonstrated impact, protects the environment, enhances economic opportunities, and provides for the social well-being of the people in the tropical and subtropical regions of the United States of America through collaborative efforts.

    Introduction
    Agriculture, in the United States of America, includes an important, but often overlooked, component geographically situated in broadly distributed locations having a tropical or subtropical environment.  Many of these islands have unique ecosystems and related opportunities.  Often the people involved in these regions are in minority groups struggling to emerge from poverty and to develop an improved quality of life.  

    Formerly dominated by a "plantation" paradigm of production of limited numbers of crops such as pineapple and bananas, this segment of United States agriculture is rapidly diversifying to take advantage of its climate and indigenous plant and animal species in the production and processing of a variety of exciting new products.

    The often fragile ecosystems in these areas are attractive and integral to rapidly growing industries related to tourism and recreation.  Prudent use of these natural resources to achieve the goal of improved economic activity from agriculture, while preserving and enhancing the environmental and natural resource base requires an active and ongoing program of research and development that is now being provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Special Grant in Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture Research (T-STAR).

    This document lays out a strategy for refocusing and continuing the Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture Research program in the context of the rapidly changing external and internal environments in which it exists.  The program continues its orientation to the Caribbean and Pacific Basins but is redirected to more adequately capture the intersection between environment, natural resources, and production of food and fiber.

    The strategy expresses broad outcome oriented goals and more specific objectives that will meet the changing needs of United States agriculture in tropical and subtropical locations.

    While the strategy is developed in terms of projected needs and outcomes, it also recognizes that certain structural and institutional goals are also relevant to achieving these goals.  For instance, it is implicit in this plan that the spectrum of research from discovery to application may be involved in achieving the stated goals.  In some instances, the program must provide information on related issues such as nutritional value of the products of island agriculture.  An inherent strength of the program is the development and expansion of collaboration between the universities involved in the Caribbean and Pacific Basins.  A further strength is that the program is conducted in institutions which have established extension capabilities to facilitate the technology transfer process.

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    Action Plan for Program Goals

    Current Agricultural Products  |  Environment  |  Value-Added Agriculture
    New Food and Fiber Products  |  Expanding Agricultural Linkages
    Decision Support Systems |  Non-Indigenous Pests and Diseases  |  Nutrition and Health

    Goal 1 - Current Agricultural Products
    Provide research that maintains and enhances production of established tropical and subtropical agricultural products.

    Issues
    Current agricultural production systems in tropical island economies are heavily impacted by pest and disease problems and market transportation constraints including quarantine issues, both politically and scientifically-based.  These problems weigh heavily on the economic viability of current agricultural products.  Solutions to these problems must consider the maintenance and enhancement of productivity, quality, and the implementation of environmentally sound sustainable practices.

    Objectives

    • Develop new or enhanced plant and animal production and protection practices that are environmentally sound and sustainable, and maintain, or enhance, productivity and quality.
    • Improve the production performance and quality of existing tropical and subtropical plants and animals through genetics, introduction of new germplasm, traditional breeding and biotechnology.

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    Goal 2 - Environment
    Develop agricultural practices in the tropics and subtropics that are environmentally acceptable through an agroecosystems approach.

    Issues
    Tropical and subtropical island ecosystems are finite and extremely fragile.  Increased tourism and population are impacting these ecosystems through increasing utilization and destruction of natural resources including the importation of exotic pests.  Current and new agricultural production systems must be environmentally sound with minimal impacts on natural resources.

    Objectives

    • Develop economically viable biological control methods for serious island tropical pests and diseases which reduce or eliminate the use of environmentally harmful chemicals.
    • Develop natural resource conservation strategies for the regions.
    • Develop practical systems for management of fertility of tropical and subtropical soils.
    • Develop economically viable animal waste management systems and practices for island ecosystems.

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    Goal 3 - Value-Added Agriculture
    Enhance the role of value-added agriculture in tropical island ecosystems.

    Issues
    Plantation agricultural production systems (e.g. bananas, sugar, pineapple, etc.) in island economies have historically exported the "raw agricultural products" with the exception of vertically integrated companies.  The value was then added at the raw products final destination.  Destination value was increased by a factor of 2 to 5 times with additional postharvest handling, processing, packaging, and (or) marketing.   New knowledge and technologies must be developed which support island private sector development of new value-added products and markets.

    Objectives

    • Enhance the quality, shelf life and safety of perishable tropical agricultural products.
    • Develop generic technology for new and improved processing, manufacturing and marketing methods aimed at the products of tropical agriculture.
    • Define the principles for regionalization of agricultural production, processing and marketing among U.S. island communities to expand markets, extend time of availability of perishable products, and improve supply, quality and quality control.
    • Optimize the impact of regulatory constraints on marketing of products of tropical island agriculture, ensuring the appropriate intersection between safety and minimum constraints.

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    Goal 4 - New Food and Fiber Products
    Expand and diversify presently unexploited food and fiber products which have potential for commercial production in the U.S. tropical and subtropical regions.

    Issues
    Tropical and subtropical island economies are rapidly changing with the decrease of plantation agriculture, the increases in tourism in the region, and the increasing demand by consumers for new product experiences.  These changes result in a multitude of constantly changing market niches waiting to be filled.  Market niches include local as well as regional ethnic demands, seasonal niches, sector demands (e.g. tourism), and location niches.

    Objectives

    • Identify and develop production systems for new plant and animal products that have potential for market niches.
    • Determine market niche opportunities for increases sales and use of plants and animals produced in the tropics.
    • Explore new approaches to agroforestry which allow the simultaneous production of new food and fiber crops on tropical soils while minimizing soil erosion.

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    Goal 5 - Expanding Agricultural Linkages
    Expand tropical and subtropical agriculture's linkages to related industries and economic sectors.

    Issues
    Tourism and recreation, including agroecotourism, are increasingly dominant sources of income in the economies of both the Caribbean and Pacific Basins.  Tourism, including its integration with agriculture in the form of agroecotourism, offers significant opportunities for the development of market niches based on new food and nutrition experiences for the tourist consumer and new educational experience by exposure to various agricultural production systems.

    Objectives

    • Identify and characterize the market niches and opportunities for the Caribbean and Pacific Basins' tourism industries such as cruise lines, airlines, restaurants and hotels, and develop supply and marketing strategies for delivering high quality products on a timely and sustainable basis.
    • Formulate policies on developing and maintaining the natural resource base to support various outdoor recreation activities such as nature trails, parks, gardens and golf courses.
    • Define, develop and support the use of agricultural production systems and related natural resources for agroecotourism, e.g. the use of producing farms and forests for tourism by those interested in visiting and understanding tropical and subtropical ecosystems.
    • Develop and market new products specifically derived from and linked to the culture and environment of the islands and directed to the tourist as a consumer.

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    Goal 6 - Decision Support Systems
    Develop and deliver user friendly decision support packages to help client needs.

    Issues
    The complexity of today's society requires broad-based decision information in order to function competitively and within the framework of environmental and sustainable parameters.  Decision information and tools are required by producers, processors, marketers, policy makers, elected officials, etc.  Information must be packaged so that it is easily accessible, and is integrated and incorporated into valid decisions.

    Objectives

    • Improve the efficiency and economic returns of agriculture systems through precision farming.
    • Provide integrated information to protect the natural resource base while improving productivity in tropical agroecosystems.
    • Assist decision makers to implement the best management practices for economic utilization of land, labor and capital.

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    Goal 7- Non-indigenous Pests and Diseases
    Develop appropriate strategies and tactics to stem the influx of exotic diseases, insects and weeds and to control and/or eliminate extant non-indigenous species and diseases.

    Issues
    With the growing threat form foot-and-mouth disease, Formosa termites, fire ants and a host of other potentially devastating invasions, we must move aggressively to protect the US against the growing environmental and economic threat of non-indigenous plants, animals, insects and microbes, either presently in the US or threatening to enter. Enhancement of research and education programs for interdiction, eradication and suppression of exotic species in a manner that conserves the natural environment is urgently needed.

    Objectives

    • Develop a data base of non-indigenous organisms that pose a potential threat.
    • Develop the expertise to identify non-indigenous organisms quickly and accurately.
    • Improve risk-management protocols including the determination of likeliest invaders and potential economic and ecological impacts
    • Develop biological, chemical, genetic and physical control mechanisms for the effective, economical and sustainable eradiction/suppresion of non-indigenous species.

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    Goal 8- Nutrition and Health
    To enhance the linkages of the agriculture and food system with nutrition, health, and socio-economic status of the people in the tropical and sub-tropical regions.

    Issues
    Obesity, diabetes and other adverse health conditions are prevalent among the population in the tropical and sub-tropical regions. These problems if not ameliorated will bear a great cost to the US health system, communities and society. Prevention and treatment taken into account the unique context of tropical agriculture, local foods, and lifestyle offer the necessary and sufficient approaches to achieving our agricultural and economic objectives.
    Strategies for achieving healthy living in urban and rural communities may vary in tropical and sub-tropical regions form the temperate counterparts. Differing foods, physical and climatic surroundings, and culture create both barriers and offer opportunities to developing innovative approaches to achieving healthy and productive citizenry.

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