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USDA Announces Organic Agriculture Research

USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today (10/27/10) awarded 30 grants to enhance the ability of organic producers and processors grow and market high quality organic agricultural products.

"More and more farmers are adopting organic agriculture practices to produce quality food and boost farm income," said Roger Beachy, director of USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). "These research and extension projects will equip producers with the tools and resources they need to operate profitable and sustainable organic farms."

NIFA awarded more than $18 million through the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI). Research at USDA increasingly focuses on the science that supports development of sustainable practices in agriculture and forestry, including organic farming, to both reduce negative impacts on the environment and keep U.S. farmers competitive. For more OREI information, visit

Additionally, more than $4 million was awarded through the Organic Transitions Program (ORG). In FY 2010, this program focused on environmental services provided by organic farming systems that support soil conservation and contribute to climate change mitigation. Practices and systems 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

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

Fiscal Year 2010 OREI awards include:

* University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz., $2,907,334

* University of Georgia, Athens, Ga., $45,713

* University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, $108,815

* USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Peoria, Ill., $49,666

* Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., $1,288,010

* USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Ames, Iowa, $2,864,478

* University of Maryland, College Park, Md., $526,781

* Michigan State University, Lansing, Mich., $963,762

* Michigan State University, Lansing, Mich., $616,492

* University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn., $1,273,250

* Farmers` Legal Action Group, Inc., St. Paul, Minn., $109,200

* University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H., $31,372

* Oregon State University, Corvallis, Ore., $2,428,677

* South Dakota State University, Brookings, S.D., $43,809

* University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn., $50,000

* Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, $661,437

* USDA-Agricultural Research Service, College Station, Texas, $967,916

* Utah State University, Logan, Utah, $1,019,411

* University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt., $759,516

* Washington State University, Pullman, Wash., $1,538,115

* West Virginia University, Morgantown, W.V., $31,344

* University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisc., $658,735

* University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisc., $574,621

Fiscal Year 2010 ORG awards include:

* University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla., 624,148

* University of Illinois, Urbana, Ill., $649,883

* Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, $691,969

* University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H., $700,000

* North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C., 590,906

* Texas AgriLife Extension Service, College Station, Texas, $697,012

* University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyo., $700,000

Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. More information is at:

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