The National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a part of the U.S. Agriculture Department, is recognizing the Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium, on its interstate teamwork.

The consortium, based at North Carolina State, consists of researchers and educators from the University of Arkansas, University of Georgia, University of Tennessee, Virginia Polytechnic and Clemson, is to be recognized with the NIFA Partnership Award for Multi-State efforts. The awards ceremony is part of the NIFA Day of Appreciation.

David Hensley, head of the University of Arkansas’ horticulture department; Elena Garcia, Extension fruit specialist; Arkansas blueberry grower Marlin Wallace, and John Clark, horticulture professor and fruit breeder, all serve on the consortium steering committee.

Since its beginnings more than a decade ago, the consortium has grown into a “fabulous resource for small fruit growers, not only in Arkansas, but the rest of the U.S.,” Clark said. The consortium has also funded research projects in Arkansas and elsewhere to address grower needs.

“The consortium is one of the finest examples of regional cooperation that I know of in extension and research, and it is a joy to be part of this information base for Arkansas and regional small fruit growers,” he said. “This award recognizes the achievements thus far.”

“NIFA recognizes that there are many outstanding contributions that our partners in the land-grant universities and other cooperating institutions and organizations achieve, and NIFA wants to recognize them through this awards program,” Sonny Ramaswamy, director of NIFA,  said in a letter to Thomas Monaco, coordinator of the Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium.

For more information about the consortium, visit www.smallfruits.org.