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New Web site helps berry growers

By Emily Ford
eford@salisburypost.com
KANNAPOLIS ó Farmers and home gardeners in North Carolina have a new online resource to help them grow blackberries and raspberries.
N.C. MarketReady at the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis has launched the Blackberry & Raspberry Growers Information Portal. To view the portal, go to www.ncsu.edu/enterprises/blackberries-raspberries.
Scientists designed the portal as a one-stop Web site, bringing together all the resources pertaining to business management and production of blackberries and raspberries in North Carolina.
The site can help experienced growers expand their operations or provide information to a novice gardener trying berries for the first time.
N.C. MarketReady, a program of N.C. State University, funded the project with a grant from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission.
The site features research-based information specific to North Carolina blackberry and raspberry production. Topics include marketing, food safety, integrated pest management, industry events and risk management.
New growers will find information about business start-up. Home gardeners can learn the berry basics. Links on the site connect users to weather and climate information.
The portal compiles materials developed by multiple departments, programs and organizations associated with N.C. State, as well as from other academic and agricultural sources.
N.C. MarketReady already has a similar information portal for strawberry growers.
With information portals, N.C. MarketReady can save growers and N.C. Cooperative Extension agents time and effort by creating a one-stop shop for an agricultural commodity.
Blackberries and raspberries are grouped together because both crops are “brambles” and are produced similarly.
Development of portals for other crops, including tomatoes, is underway.
N.C. MarketReady’s multidisciplinary team builds partnerships and educational resources to help North Carolina agriculture be more profitable.
Formerly known as the Program for Value-Added & Alternative Agriculture, N.C. MarketReady is a program of N.C. Cooperative Extension, which is educational outreach by N.C. State and N.C. A&T State University. Both schools have a presence on the Research Campus in Kannapolis.

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