USDA / Oregon State University
Berry Breeding Program
The fruit variety development program of the Agricultural Research Service – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA-ARS) in Corvallis is over 100 years old. It began selecting strawberry varieties in 1911. In 1927, the program started what is now the oldest, continuously-active, blackberry breeding program in the world.
Dr. Chad Finn serves as the chief USDA Research Geneticist. Dr. Finn developed many of the berry varieties commonly utilized in the berry industry in the Pacific Northwest. The Marionberry, one of his earliest releases, remains a beloved favorite among both producers and consumers throughout the region.
Since 1917, Oregon State University (OSU) has worked closely with the USDA-ARS plant breeding program. Currently, OSU Professor, Bernadine Strik, supports Dr. Finn’s breeding activities. Dr. Strik develops effective horticultural protocols which growers use with Dr. Finn’s new varieties. This collaborative effort has been highly productive. Since 1993, the program has released many innovative strawberry, blackberry, raspberry and blueberry cultivars.
In 2017, the USDA / OSA program entrusted EMCO CAL with the exclusive management of the newest and best varieties developed through its strawberry, blackberry, raspberry and blueberry breeding programs. It is EMCO CAL’s great privilege to bring this internationally recognized berry breeding program to farmers, retailers and consumers around the world!
Varieties from the USDA / OSU portfolio include:
- “June-bearing” strawberries
- “Summer-bearing,” floricane blackberries (trailing-type)
- “Fall-bearing,” primocane raspberries
- “Summer-bearing” blueberries
The USDA / OSU program focuses on the release of berries with exceptional, organoleptic quality and very high Brix; fruit that can be harvested by machine or hand, available for the fresh market and processed fruit industry.