October 27, 2011
On October 25, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced 23 new grants to research and extension programs working to help organic producers and processors grow and market high quality organic agricultural products. The grants, totaling $19 million, are funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) through two unique programs: the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and the Organic Transitions Program (ORG). The grants include more than $15 million in Fiscal Year 2011 grants through the OREI as well as nearly $4 million through the ORG.
OREI is USDA’s flagship competitive grants program specific to organic production. OREI funds research, education, and extension projects that improve the ability of producers and processors to grow and market high quality organic agricultural products. Some grant recipients and their projects include:
NSAC’s description of the program can be found here.
ORG’s goal is to support the development and implementation of research, extension and higher education programs to improve the competitiveness of organic livestock and crop producers, as well as those who are adopting organic practices. Highlighted grantees include:
Farm Bill Research Letter
One of NSAC’s top priorities for the upcoming farm bill is reauthorizing mandatory funding for OREI, along with the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) and the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI).
On October 27, NSAC joined 38 other organizations, including Organic Farming Research Foundation, Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance, and American Dietetic Association, on a letter to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to advocate for reauthorizing mandatory funding for these critical research programs in their policy recommendations which they will deliver to the Super Committee on November 1st. To see a copy of the letter, click here.
Categories: Conservation, Energy & Environment, Grants and Programs, Organic, Research, Education & Extension
This federal funding, which is a small percentage of the overall federal agricultural budget, is nonetheless significant. It finances research, which is otherwise lacking among the organic farming. This will improve organic farming, and only for a tiny percentage of the Fed. Ag budget.