OFRF Releases Analysis of USDA Research

OFRF released its analysis of organic research funded by the USDA Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and Organic Transitions (ORG) competitive research grant programs. This in depth analysis of programs funded from 2002-2014 offers an unprecedented assessment of the progress these programs have made in addressing critical research needs, and also provides recommendations for future research investments by USDA.

For the report, OFRF and a team of advisors analyzed 189 organic agriculture research, education, and extension projects on a range of organic farming topics, finding that many of the projects delivered valuable information and tools to organic producers, while others laid the groundwork for future outcomes, including research data, new methods, and advanced plant breeding lines.
“Most of the OREI and ORG projects reflect the same organic research priorities OFRF identified in our 2007 National Organic Research Agenda, as well as the 2016 update we will be publishing in the coming weeks,” said OFRF Research Program Director, Diana Jerkins. “Based on feedback from the organic farmers we interviewed in the U.S. last year, soil health and fertility continues to be the top priority research investment.” Together, the results from OFRF’s evaluation of USDA research and the organization's 2016 National Organic Research Agenda are expected to be highly influential in future research investments made by OFRF, USDA, and other research funding entities.
Brise Tencer, Executive Director at OFRF, added, “OREI and ORG represent a long-term investment that needs to be sustained with increased funding in order to ensure the continued growth of the organic sector. At a time when the demand for organic food is increasing, it is critical that we continue funding the research needed to produce a healthy and sustainable organic food system that supports the economic success of organic farmers across America.”
A digital version of the report, “Taking Stock: Analyzing and Reporting Organic Research Investments,
2002 - 2014” is now freely available online at ofrf.org. 

The project was funded by a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) OREI grant. OFRF would like to thank the organic farmers, researchers, and advocates who served on the advisory committee for their contributions to this report.

The full report and executive summary are available here.