Ohio State to Lead Research Project to Help Greenhouse Growers Create Optimal Conditions

The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) is leading a research and development project to help greenhouse growers create the most ideal growing environment using real-time data and climate optimization processes. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded a $3.77 million grant to study controlled-environment agriculture (CEA), a process that extends the growing season, reduces waste, and produces more, higher-quality crops by controlling environmental factors such as temperature, light and nutrients.

CFAES will lead the four-year study with collaboration from Rutgers; Cornell; University of Arizona; and Koidra, a company specializing in tools that help greenhouse and indoor growers manage crops using data and technologies such as sensors, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Chieri Kubota, professor of horticulture and crop science at CFAES, will lead the project with AJ Both, professor of environmental science at Rutgers University.

“This grant will help us become the pioneers of controlled-environment agriculture in the United States,” said Kubota, who is also director of the Ohio Controlled Agriculture Center (OHCEAC). “Currently, domestic producers rely on technology developed primarily in the Netherlands, which adheres to different design standards, units of measurement, and government regulations, causing delays in adapting new technologies to the United States. .”

The study aims to meet the following four objectives:

  • Develop a decision support platform based on data and models.
  • Validate the effectiveness of new decision-making based on data and models.
  • Understand the socio-economic aspects of adapting greenhouse technology.
  • Engage stakeholders through professional learning opportunities for workforce development.

CFAES will conduct research in the new state-of-the-art Controlled Environment Agricultural Research Complex (CEARC), a one-of-a-kind greenhouse that will be at the forefront of research in controlled environment food production. The greenhouse is part of CFAES’ Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory, a unique facility that serves as an academic center for teaching, research and community engagement.

The CEA project is one of 25 grants awarded by the USDA to address key challenges of national, regional, and multistate importance in sustaining all components of food and agriculture, including food systems. conventional and organic food production.

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Ohio State University

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