March 13, 2015 - USDA Announces Funding Available for Organic Agriculture Research

Friday, March 13, 2015 - On March 10th, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the availability of more than $66.5Farming million in funding for research and extension activities to address the needs of America’s specialty crop industry and solve critical organic agricultural production issues. The grants will be funded through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative and the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI). Both programs are administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and made available through the 2014 Farm Bill.

The purpose of OREI is to fund 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.

OREI has eight legislatively-defined goals:

  • Facilitating the development and improvement of organic agriculture production, breeding, and processing methods.
  • Evaluating the potential economic benefits of organic agricultural production and methods to producers, processors and rural communities.
  • Exploring international trade opportunities for organically grown and processed agricultural commodities.
  • Determining desirable traits for organic commodities.
  • Identifying marketing and policy constraints on the expansion of organic agriculture.
  • Conducting advanced on-farm research and development that emphasizes observation of, experimentation with, and innovation for working organic farms, including research relating to production, marketing, food safety, socioeconomic conditions, and farm business management.
  • Examining optimal conservation and environmental outcomes relating to organically produced agricultural products.
  • Developing new and improved seed varieties that are particularly suited for organic agriculture.

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