USDA / Oregon State University – Berry Breeding Program

USDA / Oregon State University

Berry Breeding Program

USDA Research Geneticist – Dr. Michael Hardigan, leads the Caneberry breeding program for the Agricultural Research Service – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA-ARS).  The fruit variety development program of the  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.

The late Dr. Chad Finn – who long served as the USDA Research Geneticist, 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.  Dr. Hardigan builds on the work of his predecessor Finn, and continues to release new and innovative varieties.

Since 1917, Oregon State University (OSU) has worked closely with the USDA-ARS plant breeding program. Currently, OSU Professor, Dr. Scott Lukas, supports Dr. Hardigan’s breeding activities. Dr. Lukas develops effective horticultural protocols tailored to Dr. Hardigan’s new varieties. This collaborative effort has been highly productive. Since 1993, the program has released many innovative strawberry, sweet 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, sweet 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,” sweet floricane blackberries
  • “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 and is suable for both the fresh market and processed fruit industry.

Dr. Michael Hardigan (USDA)

Dr. Scott Lukas (OSU)

Sweet Blackberry Varieties

Raspberry, Blueberry & Strawberry Varieties