NIFA announces support for research, extension and education in organic agriculture

WASHINGTON, December 27, 2017 – The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the availability of $17.6 million in grants focused on research, education and extension activities in organic agriculture. These grants are funded through a competitive process by NIFA’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“The U.S. organic industry continues to be one of the fastest growing segments of U.S. agriculture,” said NIFA Director Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy. “NIFA strives to support the development and deployment of the best scientific knowledge and practices to organic growers to help them grow their businesses while solving critical problems, priorities or issues in organic agriculture.”

The Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) supports research, education and extension programs that improve the ability of producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards to grow and market agricultural products high quality organic. Priority areas include research in biological, physical and social sciences, including economics. Funded projects will help farmers and ranchers plan their whole operation by providing practical research-based information to improve their ability to develop an organic system plan required for certification.

Eligible entities include land grants and other research universities, federal agencies, national laboratories, state agricultural experiment stations, research foundations, and other private researchers.

Applications must be received by March 1, 2018.

See the OREI Funding Opportunity for more information.

Previously funded projects include research for the University of Wyoming’s experiential learning program, which fused scientific theory and real-world applications to expose learners to the diversity of agricultural opportunities across the states. -United. Interviews with 19 university and college biological instructors showed that social justice and animal production were among the least discussed topics. Additionally, systems thinking has been identified as an essential skill for students engaged in an organic agriculture program.

Another NIFA-funded project supported researchers at the University of New Hampshire as they developed a consortium of expertise to meet the current and future needs of organic dairy farmers interested in resilient forage production systems and new milk markets in their region. Several results have emanated from this project: 100 organic dairy farmers in the northeast switched their dairy cows to high-forage or only forage diets; 200 adopted or refined the use of annual fodder crops to extend the grazing season; 6,000 acres of organic summer annuals were planted in New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Pennsylvania and New York; and milk content of omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid increased by an average of 76 and 42%, respectively, in cows fed ground flaxseed.

NIFA’s mission is to invest in and advance agricultural research, education and extension that solve societal problems. NIFA’s investments in transformative science directly support the long-term prosperity and global pre-eminence of American agriculture.

To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural science, visit, sign up for updates, or follow us on Twitter @USDA_NIFA, #NIFAImpacts.


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