Growing American strawberries: The challenges, needs, and opportunities

An image of strawberries to reflect growing American strawberries
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The American Society for Horticultural Science has review the challenges, needs, and opportunities for growing American strawberries.

Jayesh Samtani of Virginia Tech and Curt Rom of the University of Arkansas led the comprehensive review to encourage understanding of the challenges, needs, and opportunities of strawberry growers across the United States. It was designed to generate an effective research, policy, and marketing guideline for growing Americans strawberries. Samtani and Ron received support from a team of twelve research from ten different American states.

Growing American Strawberries

According to the researchers:

  • The United States produces more than 3 billion pounds of strawberries each year;
  • They provide almost 20% of the world crop;
  • The farm gate economic value of strawberries is just under $3 billion per year;
  • The US production acreage has increased by 17% steadily since 1990; and
  • The largest expansion has been in Florida and California.

The increase of strawberry consumption

The US consumption of strawberries has increased significantly during the past 2 decades.

Consumption is expected to increase further in the US due to factors such as the increased awareness of the health benefits of berry consumption, the year-round availability made possible through domestic production and protected berry culture, and increased imports.

Samtani said:  “What started off as a discussion and a general idea between myself and Curt Rom certainly progressed into a benchmark review. From its foundation as a USDA-SCRI planning grant proposal (Planning to Increase the Productivity and Competitiveness of Sustainable Strawberry Systems), the initiative gained momentum over time through our exchanges of ideas and thoughts. This culminated into a workshop at the 2017 ASHS Annual Conference. Speakers were carefully identified, ensuring those with sufficient knowledge, experience, and expertise were chosen to represent the different strawberry production regions of the US. We believe that we have provided a great overview of the different strawberry-producing regions of the United States–a topic that has not been investigated and documented at a national level.”

The findings have been published in an open-access article, “The Status and Future of the Strawberry Industry in the United States”, in HortTechnology.

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