March 1, 2012
This week, USDA announced the availability of $3.8 million in grants to fund research on organic production systems, under the Integrated Organic Transitions Program administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
The goal of the Organic Transitions Program is to improve the competitiveness of organic crop and livestock producers, as well as those who are adopting organic practices. In previous years, this grant program has focused on the impact of organic production systems on soil and water quality. This year, the program’s focus will shift to include projects that examine the environmental services that these systems provide, including their impact on climate change mitigation and greenhouse gas emissions.
Some of the environmental benefits commonly associated with organic production systems include: reduced nutrient pollution, improved soil tilth, increased soil organic matter and productivity, and lower energy use. These outcomes are associated with unique aspects of organic systems such as the extensive use of cover crops, crop rotation, fallowing, and animal and green manures.
As an integrated program, all projects funded under the Organic Transitions Program must have activities that fall under at least two of the three project areas: research, education, and extension. The education and extension component is especially useful in helping to translate research findings to organic producers, which is likely to increase their profitability and competitiveness of their farming operations.
This particular program is open to applications from colleges and universities only.
The deadline to apply for funding is April 25, 2012. To view the FY12 Request for Applications, click here.