WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2012 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has awarded $19 million to research and extension programs to help organic producers and processors grow and market high quality organic agricultural products.
"America's organic farmers rely on quality science to keep their operations profitable and successful," said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. "These grants will give our organic farmers the skills and tools they need to be competitive and continue producing abundant and high-quality crops."
The grants disbursed today include more than $14 million in 2012 grants through the Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI). This program focuses on helping producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards to grow and market high quality organic agricultural products. OREI's priority concerns include biological, physical and social sciences – with an emphasis on research and outreach that assist farmers and ranchers with whole farm planning. For more OREI information, visit www.nifa.usda.gov/fo/organicagricultureresearchandextensioninitiative.cfm.
In addition, the grants disbursed today include more than $3 million through the Organic Transitions Program (ORG). In 2012, ORG focused on environmental services provided by organic farming systems that support soil conservation and contribute to climate change mitigation. Practices and systems to be addressed include those associated with organic crops, organic animal production (including dairy) and organic systems integrating plant and animal production. More information on the program can be found online at www.nifa.usda.gov/fo/organictransitionsprogram.cfm.
The OREI and ORG grants are disbursed as authorized under the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, also known as the Farm Bill.
Since the late 1990s, U.S. organic production has seen significant growth. U.S. producers are increasingly turning to certified organic farming systems as a potential way to decrease reliance on nonrenewable resources, capture high-value markets and premium prices, and boost farm income. Today more than two-thirds of U.S. consumers buy organic products at least occasionally, and 28 percent buy organic products weekly.
Fiscal Year 2012 OREI awards include:
This year, NIFA also awarded $4.3 million in continuation awards to previous OREI awardees. These awards allow past grantees to build on prior research accomplishments.
Fiscal Year 2012 ORG awards include:
This year, NIFA also awarded $330,000 in continuation awards to previous ORG awardees. These awards allow past grantees to build on prior research accomplishments. Additionally, North Carolina State University and Texas AgriLife Research were awarded as continuation awards in fiscal year 2012 with the opportunity for additional funding in fiscal year 2013 contingent up available funds.
Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. More information is at www.nifa.usda.gov.
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