Mesotunnel Research to Explore Climate and Pest-Control Benefits

A $3.5 million grant from USDA’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) program will fund a four-year project that highlights mesotunnels as a potential dual solution to pest and climate challenges. The University of Kentucky, Cornell University, Iowa State University, and The Organic Center will collaborate on the project. Mesotunnels, or row covers made of fine plastic mesh, could offer diversified organic fruit and vegetable growers an effective barrier against insect pests and plant diseases transmitted by insects. The project will also consider producer perceptions of the technology, given concerns about the use of plastic in the food system.