More than $2.18 million has been awarded to 11 projects as part of the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Fertilizer Research and Education Program.

According to CDFA, the program's goal is to improve the efficacy of nitrogen fertilization, reduce associated environmental impacts and advance producer understanding and implementation of best management practices for fertilizer.

The largest grant — more than $353,000 — went to Richard Smith and Michal Cahn at the University of California Cooperative Extension in Monterey County. They’ll use the grant to help determine the amount of nitrogen removed in the harvested product for 35 Central Coast commodities. The researchers will develop coefficients that, combined with grower yield data, will provide an estimate of N removed in the harvested crop. This data can be used by growers to make informed in-season fertilization decisions and to fulfill reporting requirements for the regional water quality control board.

Several projects were also funded at about $225,000, including a project by Robert Hutmacher and Daniel Putnam at UC-Davis to elevate two biotypes of industrial hemp and assess the impacts of nitrogen management approaches on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) tissue content.

FREP grants have been awarded since 1990 and have distributed more than $22 million to 250 different projects.

For more news, go to