Search for Excellence in Crop Production

Patrick L Byers
Commercial Horticulture Field Specialist
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI EXTENSION
Webster/Southwest

Andrew Thomas*1, , Byers, P.L.*2,
1 Assistant Research Professor, University of Missouri, Mount Vernon, MO, 65712
2 Horticulture Specialist, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI EXTENSION, SPRINGFIELD, MO, 65807

The Missouri Elderberry Development Program was initiated in 1997 as a collaborative effort among University of Missouri, Missouri State University, Lincoln University, and USDA-ARS to foster development of elderberry as a commercial fruit crop through research and outreach.  The outreach component of the program is multifaceted, with emphasis on elderberry production, marketing, and challenges.  Activities focus on promotion of elderberry as a viable alternative fruit crop for Missouri producers; development of ongoing cooperative activities with Missouri elderberry producers; and development of recommendations, publications and workshops based on research from the program and elsewhere.  Activities in the past 3 years have led to improved understanding of elderberry production and challenges, planting of new elderberry acreage in Missouri, widespread planting of cultivars developed and publicized through the program, and adoption of science-based production practices by Missouri elderberry producers.  Since inception, Missouri Elderberry Development Program activities have led directly to a new industry of 150 plus acres of commercial elderberry production in Missouri and surrounding states, worth an estimated $650,000 for the raw fruit alone. The majority of the elderberry acreage in Missouri is planted to cultivars selected and promoted by the Missouri Elderberry Development Program.  Extension outreach programming through the Missouri Elderberry Development Program in 2011-2014 has directly impacted an estimated 540 people at workshops and individual consultations, and evaluations reveal a substantial level of knowledge gain as a result of participation.  The publication Growing and Marketing Elderberries in Missouri, based on 15 years of research and experience, has had 2531 requests for the downloadable version since its publication in 2012.