Organic Farming Research Foundation Receives Prestigious USDA Grant

Press Release
Maria Gaura, Communications (831) 426-6606
Brise Tencer, Executive Director (831) 426-6606
Organic Farming Research Foundation Receives Prestigious USDA Grant
$100,000 grant will fund analysis of USDA investment in Organic Farming research, define priorities for future research 

SANTA CRUZ CA, September 29, 2014 – The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) has been awarded a two-year, $100,000 grant to evaluate the effectiveness of 115 research projects funded by the US Department of Agriculture, the USDA announced today.

“This grant will allow OFRF to build on our historic mission of advancing the science of organic farming, and aligning research with the on-the-ground needs of organic farmers,” said Brise Tencer, project director of the new study and OFRF’s executive director. “We are thrilled to be working with a great team of partners and advisors, on this critically important work.” 

The USDA’s first organic research grant program was established in 2002, the year the agency’s National Organic Program (NOP) took effect. Since that time, the USDA has invested about $82 million into 115 research projects, through its Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and Organic Transitions Program (ORG). The grants represent the USDA’s first sustained foray into scientific research aimed specifically at the organic industry.   

OFRF, a national non-profit research organization headquartered in Santa Cruz, CA, has been funding organic farming research since 1991, investing more than $3 million into more than 300 scientific studies. The organization has long advocated increased federal funding for organic farming research. In 1997, OFRF issued a report, Searching for the “O” Word, an assessment of more than 30,000 project summaries contained in the USDA’s Current Research Information System, of which only 34 projects were found “strongly” relevant to organic agriculture (Lipson 1997).

Using the results of the “O” Word report, OFRF and its partners lobbied for increased federal funding for organic research, resulting in the creation of the OREI grants program in the 2002 Farm Bill. OFRF also organized the national Scientific Congress on Organic Agricultural Research (SCOAR) in 2000, and published the influential National Organic Research Agenda (NORA) in 2007. The group has announced plans for an updated NORA report in 2015.

Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) aims to foster the improvement and widespread adoption of organic farming systems. OFRF cultivates organic research, education, and federal policy that brings more farmers and acreage into organic production. Founded in 1990, OFRF is a leading champion of American organic family farmers.