Grants Awarded to Five Universities
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), on December 11, 2013, awarded five universities grants to support research, education, and Extension programs to improve the competitiveness of organic livestock and crop producers.
The Secretary of Agriculture Speaks
Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack said:
The organic industry is a rapidly growing segment of American agriculture and it is important we continue to invest in sound science to support organic producers.
The discoveries these grants enable can help farmers who are looking to adopt the best organic practices that will make their operations more competitive and sustainable.
Universities and Grants Awarded
- University of Florida, Gainesville, $675,719
- Michigan State, East Lansing, $464,482
- University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, $718,225
- University of Texas Pan American, Edinburg, $746,973
- Washington State University, Pullman, $749,661
The Organic Transitory Program
The grants disbursed include more than $3 million through the Organic Transitions Program (ORG). This program:
- Determines "ecosystems," i.e., environmental benefits, provided by organic farming systems in the area of soil conservation and climate change mitigation, including mitigation of greenhouse gases.
- Develops educational tools for Cooperative Extension personnel and other agricultural professionals who advice producers on organic practices.
- Supports the organic industry to develop appropriate practices and materials to correspond with the National Organic Program's National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances.
The Department's Stand on Organic Production
Officially, the Department says:
Since the late 1990's, U.S. organic production has grown significantly. 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.
Thankfully, the U.S. Department of Agriculture
Is Awake to This Trend!
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