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USDA Supports Research and Marketing of Organic Agriculture in 18 States

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's All About Organics page, Environment and Climate Resource page, and our Organic Transitions page.


WASHINGTON - Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced today 23 new grants to research and extension programs working to help organic producers and processors grow and market high quality organic agricultural products. The grants, totaling $19 million in all, are funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) through two unique programs: the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and the Organic Transitions Program (ORG).

"As more and more farmers adopt organic agriculture practices, they need the best science available to operate profitable and successful organic farms," said Merrigan. "America's brand of organic agricultural goods is world-renowned for its high-quality and abundance of selection. These research and extension projects will give producers the tools and resources to produce quality organic food and boost farm income, boosting the 'Grown in America' brand."

The grants announced today include more than $15 million in 2011 grants through the OREI. Supporting the development of sustainable agricultural and forestry practices, including organic farming, to both reduce negative impacts on the environment and keep U.S. farmers competitive is a priority of USDA research. For more OREI information, visit www.nifa.usda.gov/fo/organicagricultureresearchandextensioninitiative.cfm.

In addition, the grants announced today include nearly $4 million through the ORG. In FY 2011, ORG focused on environmental services provided by organic farming systems that support soil conservation and contribute to climate change mitigation. Practices and systems to be addressed include those associated with organic crops, organic animal production (including dairy) and organic systems integrating plant and animal production. More information on the program can be found online at www.nifa.usda.gov/fo/organictransitionsprogram.cfm.

Since the late 1990s, U.S. organic production has seen significant growth. U.S. producers are increasingly turning to certified organic farming systems as a potential way to decrease reliance on nonrenewable resources, capture high-value markets and premium prices, and boost farm income. Today more than two-thirds of U.S. consumers buy organic products at least occasionally, and 28 percent buy organic products weekly.