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Deadline: January 30, 2020

U.S. Department of Agriculture: Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative

The Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) seeks to support high priority integrated projects that will enhance the ability of producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards to grow and market high quality organic agricultural products. Priority concerns include biological, physical, and social sciences, including economics. The OREI has eight goals that were defined by the Farm Bill:

  1. Facilitating the development and improvement of organic agriculture production, breeding, and processing methods
  2. Evaluating the potential economic benefits of organic agricultural production and methods to producers, processors, and rural communities
  3. Exploring international trade opportunities for organically grown and processed agricultural commodities
  4. Determining desirable traits for organic commodities
  5. Identifying marketing and policy constraints on the expansion of organic agriculture
  6. 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
  7. Examining optimal conservation, soil health, and environmental outcomes relating to organically produced agricultural products
  8. Developing new and improved seed varieties that are particularly suited for organic agriculture

Priorities are detailed below:

  1. Conduct advanced on-farm crop, livestock, or integrated livestock-crop research and development that emphasize observation of, experimentation with, and innovation for organic farms, including production, marketing, and socioeconomic considerations
  2. Develop and demonstrate educational tools for Cooperative Extension personnel and other professionals who advise producers on organic practices
  3. For both plant and animal–based organic products: evaluate, develop, and improve allowable post-harvest handling, processing, and food safety practices to reduce toxins and microbial contamination, while increasing shelf-life, quality, and other economically important characteristics
  4. Strengthen organic crop propagation systems, including seed and transplant production and protection, and plant breeding for organic production conditions, with an emphasis on publicly available releases
  5. Explore technologies that meet the requirements of the National Organic Program and protect soil, water, and other natural resources
  6. Develop or improve systems-based animal production, animal health, and pest management practices to improve animal productivity, health, and welfare while retaining or enhancing economic viability, including, but not limited to: grazing and pasture-based systems, integrated livestock-crop systems, and the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) confinement standards
  7. Breed, evaluate, and select animal breeds and genotypes adapted to organic systems
  8. Develop new undergraduate and/or graduate curriculum for organic agriculture
  9. Identify marketing, policy, and other socioeconomic barriers to the expansion of organic agriculture in the United States, and develop strategies to address them

The OREI is particularly interested in research, education, and extension projects that will assist farmer and rancher whole farm planning by delivering practical, research-based information. Applicants should describe how the results of their research, education, and extension programs will improve the ability of growers to develop the Organic System Plan required for organic certification. Organic systems fieldwork must be done on certified organic land and/or facilities.

Amount: A total of $20,000,000 is available to make awards that range from $50,000-$2,000,000.

Eligibility: State agricultural experiment stations; colleges and universities; university research foundations; other research institutions and organizations; Federal agencies; national laboratories; private organizations or corporations; individuals who are United States citizens or nationals; or any group consisting of two or more of the entities described.

Award recipients may subcontract to organizations not eligible to apply provided such organizations are necessary for the conduct of the project.

Link: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=322750

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