USDA Offers Grants to Help Meet Demand for Organic Products

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USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is offering up to $3.8M in funding to support research, education and extension for both new and existing organic farmers and ranchers. The effort is aimed at helping more farmers gain access to the growing market for organic products in the U.S., which is now valued at more than $43B.

The grants were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and are funded through the Organic Transitions Program (ORG). Applications are due March 9, 2017.

Priority research areas include:

• Documenting and understanding the effects of organic practices such as crop rotation, livestock-crop integration, organic manure, mulch and/or compost additions, cover crops, and reduced or conservation tillage on ecosystem services, greenhouse gas mitigation, and biodiversity.

• Improving technologies, methods, model development and other metrics to document, describe and optimize the environmental services and climate change mitigation ability of organic farming systems.

• Developing cultural practices and other allowable alternatives to substances recommended for removal from NOP’s National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances.

• Addressing major barriers that limit the transition to organic agriculture in a given region or specific crop or animal production systems.

The grant application and guidelines are available here.

Additional information on programs including conservation grants, organic crop insurance, certification cost-share, organic market news, and simplified microloans is available here.