NIFA Announces Funding Available for Organic Agriculture Research, Education and Extension Projects

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced the availability of $17.6 million for research and outreach activities to support the organic agriculture sector. The grants are funded through NIFA’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

OREI funds high-priority research, education and extension projects that enhance the ability of producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards to grow and market high quality organic products. Eligible entities include Land-Grant and other research universities, federal agencies, national laboratories, state agricultural experiment stations, and research foundations and other private researchers.

Priority areas include biological, physical and social science research, including economics. Funded projects will aid farmers and ranchers with whole-farm planning by delivering practical research-based information and improve the ability for growers to develop the Organic System Plan required for certification.

OREI has eight legislatively-defined goals:

  • Facilitate the development and improvement of organic agriculture production, breeding, and processing methods;
  • Evaluate the potential economic benefits of organic agricultural production and methods to producers, processors and rural communities;
  • Explore international trade opportunities for organically grown and processed agricultural commodities;
  • Determine desirable traits for organic commodities;
  • Identify marketing and policy constraints on the expansion of organic agriculture;
  • Conduct advanced on-farm research and development into topic areas including production, marketing, food safety, socioeconomic conditions and farm business management;
  • Examine optimal conservation and environmental outcomes relating to organically-produced agricultural products; and
  • Develop new and improved seed varieties that are particularly suited for organic agriculture.

Applications are due by January 19, 2017. See the OREI request for applications for details.