The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced an investment of more than $30 million for 33 grants that support farmers and ranchers who grow and market high-quality organic food, fiber and other organic products. 

According to a news release on Sept. 15, NIFA’s investment in the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative and the Organic Transitions Program will help fund research, education and extension projects to improve yields, quality and profitability for producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards and help existing and transitioning organic livestock and crop producers adopt organic practices and improve their market competitiveness. 

Under the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative, funded grants include:

—“Breeding Designer Apple Rootstocks to Match Nutrient Parameters Under Organic Management,” led by Terence Robinson and Gennaro Fazio of Cornell University ($445,976). 

—“Systems-based Approach to Enhance Quality, Safety and Shelf Life of Organic Tree Fruit in the Pacific Northwest,” led by Washington State University postharvest pathologist Achour Amiri ($1,499,887). 

—“Performance and Economics of Electric Weed Control in Organic Perennial Crops: A Multiregional Approach,” led by Oregon State University weed scientist Marcelo Moretti ($2,044,595). 

“As we work together to build a diverse, resilient and robust agricultural supply chain and ensure nutrition security for all Americans, these grants will support research and extension efforts at local universities to provide valuable information and training, especially for local, small farmers and producers,” NIFA Director Carrie Castille said in the release.

This investment is part of NIFA’s Organic Agriculture Program. For links to a complete list of funded projects, go to:

—by Jonelle Mejica