Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative

 

Facilitate the development of organic agriculture production, breeding, and processing methods. Functionally identify soil microbial communities and ways to manage microbial dynamics to enhance nutrient cycling and disease suppression; Develop systemic approaches to weed, insect and disease management; Prevent, control, and treat internal and external parasites in various livestock species; and Breed crops for disease and insect resistance, good yield in a biologically diverse system, compatibility with intercrops, good response to organic fertility sources, horizontal resistance (traits determined by multiple genes). Evaluate the potential economic benefits to producers and processors who use organic methods. Analyze potential economic costs, returns and risks of organic production systems; Use environmental valuation tools to quantify externalities of producing food, and compare externalities of producing organic and conventional food; - Analyze price and market structures, including ability of small, medium-, and large-scale growers to access different markets, in order to frame policies that minimize concentration within the industry; and Analyze marketing channels to document how organic food is distributed, what share of the organic food dollar is returned to the farmer, and the implications of large-scale manufacturers entering the organic market. Explore international trade opportunities for organically grown and processed agricultural commodities. Compare compatibility of certification standards used in different parts of the world, with the ultimate goal of harmonization and reciprocity; Undertake marketing studies of international consumer demand for U.S. produced organic goods; and Perform Welfare analyses (quantified gains and losses for producers and consumers) of trade policies affecting international competitiveness, including implementation of the National Organic Program, domestic support programs such as the Conservation Security Act, country of origin labeling, GMO labeling, etc. Determine desirable traits for organic commodities. Examine relationships between nutrients in the soil and nutrients in the food grown on that soil, including long-term soil nutrient and crop nutrient profiles under conventional and organic management; Perform comparisons of nutrient levels between organic and conventional crops and relationship, if any, between taste and nutrient profile; Investigate the role of post-harvest handling and treatment in the maintenance of quality in fresh market organic products; and Determine the reasons for consumer preferences for organic goods. Identify marketing and policy constraints on the expansion of organic agriculture. Analyze opportunities and constraints to organic agriculture resulting from provisions of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002; Investigate specific barriers to markets, such as scale-based regulations that restrict family farm access to processors and/or markets; Study negative lender perception of organic farming and ways to change this; and Analyze regulatory barriers, such as lack of access to Federal farm programs, and developing solutions to these challenges. Conduct advanced on-farm research and development that emphasizes observation of, experimentation with, and innovation for working organic farms, including research relating to production and marketing and to socioeconomic conditions. (Note: Many topics from other goal areas can be conducted on working farms.) Develop rigorous on-farm systems research designs; and Conduct long-term, interdisciplinary systems research.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Active
Program Number
10.307
Federal Agency/Office
National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Department of Agriculture
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2016 For the FY 2016 award cycle, approximately $17 million was available for awards after deducting legislatively authorized set-asides. A total of 101 applications, requesting a total of $84,624,106.00, were received in this year’s competition. In June 2016, a 21-member peer review panel evaluated these applications. The peer panel included faculty from land grant universities and representative from non-profit stakeholder groups. Funding decisions are not yet made; but, it is anticipated that 18 new awards totaling approximately $17.5 million will be made in FY 2016 representing a 18% success rate For the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 award cycle, $17,640,143 was available for grant awards after legislatively authorized set-asides were deducted. A total of 101 applications, requesting a total of $84,624,106 were received in the FY 2016 competition. Funds were available to support a total of 18 new awards. The funding ratio for this program in FY 2016 was 18%. Funded projects seek to solve critical organic agricultural issues, priorities, or problems through the integration of research, education and extension activities. They include high priority research, education and extension 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.
Fiscal Year 2017 For the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 award cycle, about $17,589,850 was available for grant awards after legislatively authorized set-asides were deducted. A total of 79 applications, requesting a total of $78,732,241 were received in the FY 2017 competition. Funds were available to support a total of 16 new awards. The funding ratio for this program in FY 2017 was 20%. Funded projects seek to solve critical organic agricultural issues, priorities, or problems through the integration of research, education and extension activities. They include high priority research, education and extension 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.
Fiscal Year 2018 For the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 award cycle, about $17,633,245 million was available to program after legislatively authorized set-asides were deducted. A total of 92 applications, requesting a total of $89,743,018 were received in the FY 2018 competition. Funds were available to support a total of 15 new awards. The funding ratio for this program in FY 2018 was 16%. Funded projects seek to solve critical organic agricultural issues, priorities, or problems through the integration of research, education and extension activities. They include high priority research, education and extension 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.
Fiscal Year 2019 For the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 award cycle, about $18,886,926 million was available to program after legislatively authorized set-asides were deducted. A total of 72 applications, requesting a total of $68,874,268.84 were received in the FY 2019 competition. Funds were available to support a total of 19 new awards. The funding ratio for this program in FY 2019 was 26%. Funded projects seek to solve critical organic agricultural issues, priorities, or problems through the integration of research, education and extension activities. They include high priority research, education and extension 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.
Fiscal Year 2020 The total amount available based on the 2018 Farm Bill is $25 million. The projected amount available for awards is $18.9 million. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 RFA will focus on the following eight (8) legislatively-defined goals: (1) Facilitating the development 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 and marketing, food safety, socioeconomic conditions, and farm business management; (7) Examining optimal conservation and environmental outcomes relating to organically produced agricultural products; and (8) Developing new and improved seed varieties that are particularly suited for organic agriculture.
Authorization
Section 7206 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (FCEA) amended section 1672B of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade (FACT) Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 5925b) amending and re-authorizing the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI). The FACT Act, as amended, authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation with the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board (NAREEEAB), to make competitive grants to support research and extension activities regarding organically grown and processed agricultural commodities for eight legislatively-defined goals. See RFA Part I.B. for further general information and specific details., 7 U.S.C. 5925b
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Applications may be submitted by State agricultural experiment stations, all colleges and universities, other research institutions and organizations, Federal agencies, national laboratories, private organizations or corporations, and individuals. For both ORG and OREI, all award recipients may subcontract to organizations not eligible to apply provided such organizations are necessary for the conduct of the project.
Beneficiary Eligibility
State agricultural experiment stations, all colleges and universities, other research institutions and organizations, Federal agencies, national laboratories, private organizations or corporations, and individuals.
Credentials/Documentation
The System for Award Management (SAM) combines eight federal procurement systems, including CCR, and the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance into one new system. CCR activities are conducted through SAM (the CCR website will redirect users to SAM). Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number and System for Award Management (SAM): Each applicant (unless excepted under 2 CFR SS 25.110(b) or (c), or has an exception approved by the Federal awarding agency under 2 CFR SS 25.110(d)) is required to: (i) Be registered in SAM before submitting its application; (ii) Provide a valid DUNS number in its application; and (iii) Continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by a Federal awarding agency. It also must state that the Federal awarding agency may not make a Federal award to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable DUNS and SAM requirements and, if an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time the Federal awarding agency is ready to make a Federal award, the Federal awarding agency may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a Federal award and use that determination as a basis for making a Federal award to another applicant. Applicants must furnish the information required in the Competitive Request for Applications (RFAs). Successful applicants recommended for funding must furnish the information and assurances requested during the award documentation process. These include, but are not limited to the following: Organizational Management Information - Specific management information relating to an applicant shall be submitted on a one time basis, with updates on an as needed basis, as part of the responsibility determination prior to the award of a grant identified under this RFA, if such information has not been provided previously under this or another NIFA program. NIFA will provide copies of forms recommended for use in fulfilling these requirements as part of the preaward process. Although an applicant may be eligible based on its status as one of these entities, there are factors which may exclude an applicant from receiving Federal financial and nonfinancial assistance and benefits under this program (e.g., debarment or suspension of an individual involved or a determination that an applicant is not responsible based on submitted organizational management information). This information collection is approved under OMB Circular Control No. 0524-0026, "Assurance of Compliance with the Department of Agriculture Regulations Assuring Civil Rights, Compliance and Organization Information." SPECIAL NOTE: Please refer to the Competitive Request for Applications (RFAs) for further specific and pertinent details. The most current RFAs are available as follows: https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/organic-agriculture-research-and-extension-initiative RFAs are generally released annually. Hence, the RFAs provide the most current and accurate information available. Any specific instructions in the Competitive RFAs supersede the general information provided in the CFDA database.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is required. An environmental impact statement is required for this listing. An environmental impact assessment is not required for this listing. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372. All RFAs are published on the Agency’s website and Grants.gov. Applicants must complete the Grants.gov registration process.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) only accepts electronic applications which are submitted via Grants.gov in response to specific Requests for Applications (RFA). Applicants must complete the Grants.gov registration process. For information about the pre-award phase of the grant lifecycle application processes see: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/learn-grants/grants-101/pre-award-phase.html. Further, applicants must follow the instructions provided in the NIFA Grants.gov Application Guide, which can be assessed as follows: Adobe NIFA Applications. 2 CFR part 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards and 2 CFR part 400 USDA's Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards apply to this program. SPECIAL NOTE: Please refer to the Competitive Request for Applications (RFAs) for further specific and pertinent details. The most current RFAs are available via: https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/organic-agriculture-research-and-extension-initiative RFAs are generally released annually. Hence, the RFAs provide the most current and accurate information available. Any specific instructions in the Competitive RFAs supersede the general information provided in the CFDA database.
Award Procedure
Applications are subjected to a system of peer and merit review in accordance with section 103 of the Agricultural Research, Extension and Education Reform Act of 1998 (7 U.S.C. 7613) by a panel of qualified scientists and other appropriate persons who are specialists in the field covered by the proposal. Within the limit of funds available for such purpose, the NIFA Authorized Departmental Officer (ADO) shall make grants to those responsible, eligible applicants whose applications are judged most meritorious under the procedures set forth in the RFA. Reviewers will be selected based upon training and experience in relevant scientific, extension, or education fields, taking into account the following factors: (a) The level of relevant formal scientific, technical education, or extension experience of the individual, as well as the extent to which an individual is engaged in relevant research, education, or extension activities; (b) the need to include as reviewers experts from various areas of specialization within relevant scientific, education, or extension fields; (c) the need to include as reviewers other experts (e.g., producers, range or forest managers/operators, and consumers) who can assess relevance of the applications to targeted audiences and to program needs; (d) the need to include as reviewers experts from a variety of organizational types (e.g., colleges, universities, industry, state and Federal agencies, private profit and non-profit organizations) and geographic locations; (e) the need to maintain a balanced composition of reviewers with regard to minority and female representation and an equitable age distribution; and (f) the need to include reviewers who can judge the effective usefulness to producers and the general public of each application. Evaluation Criteria will be delineated in the Competitive Request for Applications (RFA). 2 CFR 200 - Subpart C and Appendix I and 2 CFR part 400 apply to this Program. SPECIAL NOTE: Please refer to the Competitive Request for Applications (RFAs) for further specific and pertinent details. The most current RFAs are available via: https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/organic-agriculture-research-and-extension-initiative RFAs are generally released annually. Hence, the RFAs provide the most current and accurate information available. Any specific instructions in the Competitive RFAs supersede the general information provided in the CFDA database.
Deadlines
Contact the headquarters or regional location, as appropriate for application deadlines
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
From 30 to 60 days. Contact the National Program Leader (NPL), as indicated per CFDA Section # 152 - Headquarters Office regarding dates for specific deadlines, start and end dates, and range of approval/disapproval time. Information is also available via our website and may be obtained via the Grants.gov website. NIFA's respective links regarding general information are provided below: http://nifa.usda.gov/ http://www.grants.gov. SPECIAL NOTE: Please refer to the Competitive Request for Applications (RFAs) for further specific and pertinent details. The most current RFA is available via: https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/organic-agriculture-research-and-extension-initiative RFAs are generally released annually. Hence, the RFAs provide the most current and accurate information available. Any specific instructions in the Competitive RFAs supersede the general information provided in the CFDA database.
Appeals
Not Applicable. 2 CFR Part 200 - Subparts D & E apply to this program.
Renewals
Specific details are provided in the Request for Applications (RFA), which are generally published annually. The most current RFA is available via: https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/organic-agriculture-research-and-extension-initiative
How are proposals selected?
2 CFR part 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards and 2 CFR part 400 USDA's Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards apply to this program. Within guidelines established for the program as described in the Competitive Request for Application (RFA). The most current RFAs are available via: https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/organic-agriculture-research-and-extension-initiative
How may assistance be used?
The Integrated Organic Program is particularly interested in proposed projects that emphasize research and outreach that assist farmers and ranchers with whole farm planning and ecosystem integration. Projects should plan to deliver applied production information to producers. Fieldwork for both program areas must be done on certified organic land or on land in transition to organic certification, as appropriate to project goals and objectives. Refer to the USDA National Organic Program (http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop) for organic production standards.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Reporting
Performance Reports: PERFORMANCE MONITORING: See above for pertinent and specific details.
Auditing
Relation to other audit requirements, but records must be available for review or audit by appropriate officials of the Federal agency, pass-through entity, and Government Accountability Office (GAO). This program is also subject to audit by the cognizant Federal audit agency and the USDA Office of Inspector General.
Records
In accordance with 2 CFR Part 400 - Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, SS 200.333 Retention requirements for records. Grantees shall maintain separate records for each grant to ensure that funds are used for authorized purposes. Grant-related records are subject to inspection during the life of the grant and must be retained at least three (3) years. Records must be retained beyond the three (3) year period if litigation is pending or audit findings have not been resolved. 2 CFR 200 Subpart D applies to this program.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching is voluntary. 100%. Funds are awarded competitively. No formula grants are awarded under Subtitle K of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 [7 U.S.C. 3319e]. Cost Sharing or Matching: (1) General Requirement The Secretary shall require the recipient of a grant under this section to provide funds or in-kind support from non-Federal sources in an amount at least equal to the amount provided by the Federal Government. See R&R Budget section regarding matching funds Part IV, B., 6.of this RFA for more details. (2) Waiver NIFA may waive the matching funds requirement specified in the above paragraph for a grant if NIFA determines that: (a) the results of the project, while of particular benefit to a specific agricultural commodity, are likely to be applicable to agricultural commodities generally; or (b) the project involves a minor commodity, the project deals with scientifically important research, and the grant recipient is unable to satisfy the matching funds requirement.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
In accordance with statutory time limits, project periods, including no-cost extensions of time, are not to exceed five (5) years. Further details are provided in the Award document Form NIFA-2009 and the NIFA General Terms and Conditions Grants and Cooperative Agreements (dated October 2016) at: https://nifa.usda.gov/resource/nifa-general-terms-and-conditions-grants-and-cooperative-agreements-october-2016. SPECIAL NOTE: Please refer to the Competitive Request for Applications (RFAs) for specific and pertinent details. The most current RFAs are available via: https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/organic-agriculture-research-and-extension-initiative RFAs are generally released annually. Hence, the RFAs provide the most current and accurate information available. Any specific instructions in the Competitive RFAs supersede the general information provided in the CFDA database. NIFA utilizes the Automated Standard Application for Payments (ASAP), a secure, web-based electronic payment and information system that allows federal agencies to administer funds. Currently, ASAP is the only payment source for new NIFA grantees.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
NIFA is transitioning to a new location for Fiscal Year 2020. NIFA's New Mailing Address AFTER September 30, 2019 follows: National Institute of Food and Agriculture 6501 Beacon Drive Kansas City, MO 64133
Headquarters Office
USDA, NIFA, National Program Leader,
Institute of Food Production and Sustainability, Division of Animal Systems, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., STOP 2240
Washington , DC 20250-2240 US
Policy@nifa.usda.gov
Phone: (202) 401-6134
Fax: (202) 401-1602
Website Address
http://nifa.usda.gov/program/organic-agriculture-program
Financial Information
Account Identification
12-1502-0-1-352
Obligations
(Project Grants) FY 18$17,596,826.00; FY 19 est $18,886,926.00; FY 20 est $18,995,200.00; FY 17$17,580,428.00; FY 16$17,640,143.00; - The difference between the appropriation and obligation numbers reflects legislative authorized set-asides deducted as appropriate, and in some cases the availability of obligational authority from prior years. NOTE: Funding for this mandatory program was re-authorized via the 2018 Farm Bill.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
If minimum or maximum amounts of funding per competitive and/or capacity project grant, or cooperative agreement are established, these amounts will be announced in the annual Competitive Request for Application (RFA). The most current RFA is available via: https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/organic-agriculture-research-and-extension-initiative
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
As an administrator of U.S. government support, NIFA works in partnership with grantees to ensure responsible stewardship of federal funds. Our grantees and partners are required to comply with all relevant rules and regulations. The following resources are provided to NIFA's partners and award recipients to support their adherence to federal regulations governing program performance: NIFA's primary (main) website: https://nifa.usda.gov/regulations-and-guidelines The following represent specific documents and direct links: POLICY GUIDE NIFA's Federal Assistance Policy Guide describes agency policies and procedures. https://nifa.usda.gov/policy-guide CERTIFICATIONS AND REPRESENTATIONS Certifications and representations provided through the NIFA application process. https://nifa.usda.gov/certifications-and-representations ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF USDA SUPPORT BY NIFA When acknowledging USDA support in accordance with 2 CFR Part 415, grantees must use the following acknowledgement for all projects or initiatives supported by NIFA. https://nifa.usda.gov/acknowledgment-usda-support-nifa FEDERAL REGULATIONS The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) lists all regulations published in the Federal Register. https://nifa.usda.gov/federal-regulations FOIA The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides that any person has the right to request access to federal documents and information such as research data. https://nifa.usda.gov/foia NEPA POLICY AND GUIDANCE The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Policy and Guidance set the standard for identifying potential environmental impacts. https://nifa.usda.gov/nepa-policy-and-guidance OGFM ISSUED CORRESPONDENCE The Office of Grants and Financial Management occasionally issues correspondence to applicants, grantees, and/or the general public for informational or clarification purposes. https://nifa.usda.gov/ogfm-issued-correspondence RESEARCH MISCONDUCT NIFA requires that all its awardees adhere to the USDA Scientific Integrity Policy and the Federal Policy on Research Misconduct. https://nifa.usda.gov/research-misconduct NIFA'S GENERAL AWARD TERMS AND CONDITIONS Award terms and conditions are determined by statutory, regulatory, and agency requirements, as well as each grant's circumstances. Terms and conditions dictate important items related to your grant, including method of payment, reporting frequency and content, and prior approval requirements. References to the terms and conditions of awards are located on the NIFA 2009 Award Fact Sheet. NIFA's general award terms and conditions (see link below) is applicable to this program, for awards with an award date on December 26, 2014 and thereafter. https://nifa.usda.gov/resource/nifa-general-terms-and-conditions-grants-and-cooperative-agreements-october-2016.
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2016 For FY 2016: We anticipate making about 18 awards in 2016 Building Resilience in the Northeast through Double Cropping and Diverse Forage Crop Mixtures. The goal of this project is to meet the dry matter and forage nutrient needs of dairy farmers. Increasing cropping system diversity can increase yield stability and reduce the negative impact of variable weather. Guided by a stakeholder advisory board, the team will conduct farmer-focused socioeconomic research and field experiments on-farm and at research stations in NY, VT, and NH. They will quantify the productivity and economic viability of intercropping with intra- and interspecific mixtures of winter and summer annual forage crops as part of a double cropping system, and compare this double cropping system to perennial-based forage production. The research team will develop farmer resources on organic forage crop production and disseminate the information this new information through innovative extension strategies. CIOA 2- Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture With Added Grower and Consumer Value. Organic growers need vegetable varieties that are adapted to organic growing conditions and have market qualities demanded by organic consumers. In carrots, weed competition, nutrient acquisition, nematodes, and disease pressure are particularly critical challenges to both fresh market carrots and carrot seed production, while flavor, appearance, and nutrition are key market qualities. This project will deliver improved carrot varieties for organic producers and consumers; improved understanding of cultivar performance in organic systems; improved understanding of how carrot genotypes interact with the root microbiome to access key nutrients under limiting environments and avoid heavy metal uptake; and a breeding model that may be adapted to other crops for organic cultivar development. Organic farmers, students, and industry stakeholders in six (6) states participate in the breeding, variety trials, and planning aspects of the project. Project results are disseminated nationally. Multi-regional risk analysis of farm manure use: Balancing soil health and food safety for organic fresh produce production. Certified organic producers rely on manure-based soil amendments for crop nutrients and to maintain soil health. However, use of untreated animal manure in fresh produce cropping systems may introduce foodborne pathogens and increase the risk of foodborne illness for consumers. The project uses an integrated research-extension risk-based approach to address an urgent and critical need to assess current manure use by organic growers and evaluate pathogen survival time relative to soil health status. The long-term goal is to improve the microbial food safety of fresh organic produce (e.g., leafy greens, tomatoes, root vegetables) grown in soils amended with raw manure. The overall objective is to develop a customized risk-assessment based on good agriculture practices, rigorous microbial testing, self-assessment of soil health, and environmental factors. Strengthening Organic Farming Infrastructure through Consumer Education, Market Development, and Integrated Extension and Research Programs in the Southeastern Region. The project brings together a strong team of economists, extension educators, agronomists and horticulturists in the southeast region of the US to expand organic agriculture in the region. The southeast lags behind the rest of the US in production and sales of organically produced products. Tuskegee University, Auburn University, Mississippi State University and North Carolina State University will work together to double the number of certified organic operations in Alabama. This will be accomplished by creating market demand through consumer education and increased marketing efforts. Growth of organic agriculture in the region will be supported and expanded through effective participatory extension activities, which will deliver regionally specific research based production practices. Understanding Parasite Resistance in Organic Livestock and Using a Systems Approach for Control. One (1) of the greatest barriers to organic production of ruminant livestock is the control of gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN) or parasites. The goals of this project are to: (1) understand host mechanisms involved in GIN resistance/resilience by examining differences in immune response among susceptible, resilient, and resistant individuals and breed types; (2) identify genetic loci associated with resistance/resilience; (3) further examine successful systems approaches of GIN control, including fall lambing to minimize summer exposure of GIN to lambs, diverse forage and grazing systems to minimize GIN exposure and use secondary plant compounds for control; and (4) work with farmers enrolled in the National Sheep Improvement Program to understand tools for selection for GIN resistance. Participating farmers are providing 5,000 DNA samples and phenotypes.
Fiscal Year 2017 FISCAL YEAR (FY) 2017: Developing Multi-use Naked Barley for Organic Farming Systems. The long-term goal of this study is to provide organic gardeners, growers, processors, and consumers with an alternative crop, food, and raw material that will be economically rewarding and sustainable. The team will breed for naked barley and a modest level of ?-glucan to create varieties suitable for brewing, feed use, and that will meet FDA guidelines for soluble fiber in human diets. The work will be conducted in five (5) representative regions/states - Pacific Northwest (OR, WA), Upper Midwest (MN, WI) and North East (NY) The outreach efforts will familiarize students, gardeners, growers, processors, and consumers with the benefits of naked barley varieties and provide guidance for capitalizing on the advantages these varieties can offer. Economic and environmental sustainability of heifer development strategies in pasture-based organic dairy systems. Dairy products constitute the second largest sector of the organic agriculture industry in the US. And dairy cow replacement costs are second only to feed costs in magnitude for the average dairy farm: between one-third (1/3) and one-fourth (1/4) of the entire herd is replaced every year. Given the National Organic Program requirement that ruminant animals be managed on pasture and graze daily throughout the grazing season, heifer development within organic systems is more challenging, and more costly than in confinement systems. The primary objective of the project is to innovate new strategies for organic forage-based dairy heifer development, and then to inspire widespread adoption of these practices for enhanced farm sustainability. One-two punch for Organic Poultry Processing: Knocking out foodborne pathogens with plant derived antimicrobials and farmer training. Both conventional and organic poultry products have been identified as major sources of Salmonella and Campylobacter, the two (2) most common food-borne pathogens in the US. This study aims to reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter on poultry meat/ eggs using plant-derived antimicrobials applied as wash, spray, fumigation or coating treatment at critical post-harvest control points. Managing the Most Significant Biotic Challenges for Organic Onion Production Across the Great Lakes Region. Organic onions are a highly valuable commodity in the Great Lakes region and their economic viability has been critically threatened by pests and pathogens that are difficult to manage. Stakeholders have identified onion thrips, Thrips tabaci, as the most serious insect pest and Stemphylium leaf blight (SLB), which is caused by Stemphylium vesicarium, as the most important foliar pathogen in this region. The long-term goal of this project is to develop and implement an effective IPM program for onion thrips and SLB that will ensure the sustainability and profitability of organic onion production in the Great Lakes. Participatory Breeding and Testing Networks: A Maize Based Case Study for Organic Systems. This integrated Multi-Regional Project will conduct advanced on-farm research to identify biophysical and social/legal factors influencing the performance of organic maize cultivars and dependent businesses. Objectives are to: (1) build capacity that supports a participatory testing and breeding program; (2) conduct a maize-based case study to explore on-farm factors influencing crop fitness and grain quality; and (3) identify and communicate how organizational structures, sharing and intellectual property agreements can promote client-oriented breeding programs to improve our organic seed supply. Important inputs include promising cultivars, experienced advisers, and significant farmer input.
Fiscal Year 2018 2018-02820 –Selection to Distribution: Delivering Regionally Adapted Cover Crop Varieties to Organic Farmers. Legume cover crops are essential to long-term sustainability of organic cropping systems because they fix nitrogen, improve soil health, suppress weeds, and provide resources for beneficial organisms such as pollinators. Unlike cash crops, cover crops have not been bred to optimize the traits that organic farmers need. This team of organic and cover crop experts from multiple universities, non-profit organizations, and governmental agencies will work in partnership with leading seed companies and farmers, to breed new varieties of hairy vetch, winter pea, and crimson clover. These regionally adapted varieties will be tailored to organic cropping systems and create a foundation from which future public legume cover crop breeding programs can develop improved varieties. 2018-02805 – Development and Implementation of Biological Control Tactics for Key Vegetable Insect Pests in the Southeastern US. Acreage of organic cucurbits and tomatoes in the Southeast US is growing, but production is limited by damaged caused by spider mites, whiteflies, and thrips, and in the case of the latter two pests, the viruses they transmit. Neither OMRI approved pesticides nor resistant cultivars can serve as stand-alone methods for control. The goal of this project is to improve augmentation and conservation of predatory natural enemies for the management of these pests through three objectives: (1) improve augmentative releases of commercially available predatory (2) improve conservation biocontrol (3) disseminate research results and general information regarding biological control online and in-person, using eOrganic for web-based outreach. 2018-02881 – Northern Vegetable Improvement Collaborative (NOVIC) 3. Organic food production is rapidly growing, but growers lack access to certified-organic seed and improved vegetable varieties adapted to organic production. NOVIC builds on two previous rounds of funding from OREI. This project seeks to increase the number of organically adapted vegetable varieties through farmer-participatory trialing and breeding. Long-term goals are to enhance organically managed agriculture and increase compliance with NOP requirement for certified-organic seed. Research objectives are to breed and to trial varieties for organic systems, and to develop easy to maintain and productive OPs. Breeding will be conducted for disease resistant, flavorful tomatoes for outdoor (OR) and high tunnel (WI) production, high-quality, early-maturity sweet and savory corns (WI & WA), long storing winter squash (NY), early blocky bell peppers (NY), red and green storage cabbage (WA) and fertile gynoecious cucumbers (NY). Local variety trials at research hubs and on farm will focus on regional priority crops. 2018-02799–Breeding Biofortified Pulse and Cereal Crops ford US Organic Cropping Systems. Current organic grain production depends on cultivars that have been bred for non-organic production, but these are often not suited to organic production. Pulse crops, field pea show great potential for biofortification, and are suited to meeting consumer demand for organic plant-based protein, prebiotic carbohydrates, and micronutrients especially within allergen- and gluten-free markets. Field pea, a new southern cash crop, can be planted in late December to mid-January, with the crop then harvested — just in time for planting sorghum. Sorghum is an excellent crop for South because of its high productivity and stress tolerance. Very little science has been done with respect to reducing the yield gap or developing genomic tools for selecting both field pea and sorghum cultivars with increased nutritional quality for organic farming systems. The objectives of this project are to (1) develop biofortified organic field pea and sorghum varieties using on-farm field selection with aims to increase crop yield and nutritional quality; (2) develop genomic and bioinformatics capabilities to address the genetic diversity of desired agronomic and nutritional traits; and (3) develop on-farm educational and extension activities. 2018-02850 – CREEP STOP: Integrating Biological, Cultural, and Mechanical/Physical Tools for Long-Term Suppression of Creeping Perennial Weeds in northern Great Plains and Pacific Northwest Cropping Systems. Most organic wheat, lentil, and other cool-season grains are produced in the northwestern U.S. Increasingly, fields are being removed from organic certification because of invasion and infestation by Canada thistle and field bindweed. Recent meta-analyses indicate that research targeting suppression/control of these weed species in organic environments is limited. A multi-state effort is proposed to develop weed management tactics for suppression/control of these creeping perennial weeds in the northern Great Plains and Pacific Northwest. Biological, cultural, and mechanical tactics will be compared for their efficacy on 10 organic farms and 3 research centers in each of 4 years. Correlations between weed population genotypes and the microbiome at the weed/soil interface with different suppression/control tactics and their efficacy across weed populations will be established.
Fiscal Year 2019 2019-03076- A systems approach to improve quality and shelf life of organic dairy products for domestic and export markets In 2016, dairy contributed $1.4 billion to a total of $7.6 billion of sales for all certified organic commodities. Expansion of organic dairy product sales in domestic and export markets represent a considerable opportunity, but requires continuous improvements in quality and shelf-life. Sporeforming bacteria, which cause reduced shelf-life and/or quality issues across different products (e.g. fluid milk, dairy powders, cheese), represent a particular challenge for the organic dairy industry as they are some of the most resilient bacteria, which survive many heat treatments and may be resistant to some OMRI approved sanitizers. This project has assembled a multi-regional team to address the challenge of spore control in the organic dairy industry, using a comprehensive systems approach. 2019-03095- Organic Alternatives to Conventional Celery Powder as a Meat Curing Agent This project addresses the critical stakeholder need to ensure an adequate and stable supply of organic curing powder for the organic cured meat industry. Celery powder has been in use since the inception of the USDA NOP as a “curing” agent in organic processed meat products. During this time, the industry has grown to an estimated $150 M. In 2019, all celery powder available to organic meat processors is conventionally grown and processed; a change in regulation requires all powder to be derived from organic sources, placing significant repercussions on the entire organic cured meat industry. This project will use a comprehensive approach to address this critical issue. 2019-03101 - Integrating Vegetable, Poultry, and Cover Cropping to Enhance Resiliency in Organic Production Systems The overall goal of this multi-regional four-year project is to assist organic vegetable producers better integrate poultry and cover crops in their rotations. Crop, animal, and cover crop integration, along with diverse crop rotations will increase soil quality, reduce off farm input, increase farm diversity and profitability. This project will also investigates food safety, meat quality, and wellness attributes in plant-animal integrated systems. All activities meet priorities of organic producers. Given current updates in Food Safety Modernization Act, this project will provide baseline analysis of microbiological load and concentrations (Salmonella) in crop-poultry integrated system. The team will also conduct economic analysis of integrated crop-poultry system and compare it with existing practice of strictly raising vegetable crops. Economic analysis outputs would include enterprise and partial budgets, sensitivity analysis, and decision-making tools that assist whole farm planning and facilitate grower adoption of integrated organic systems. 2019-03080- Tomato Organic Management and Improvement Project (TOMI): Part II Demand for organic, locally grown tomatoes continues to increase, yet growers struggle to meet this demand due to diseases that move quickly through fields and decimate entire crops. High tunnels can help reduce susceptibility to some diseases, but can increase susceptibility to others. Copper fungicides can reduce disease severity, but can accumulate in soil and negatively impact soil and water quality. Modern hybrid varieties with resistance are available, but they lack the flavor demanded by organic consumers, and resistance in these varieties can be overcome and could increase susceptibility to other pests. This multi-state, interdisciplinary project will address these challenges by: 1) identifying factors that mediate disease suppressive activity in soil and control the efficacy of bio-pesticides in the field, 2) integrate selection for beneficial plant microbial relationships that help plants withstand disease outbreaks into a breeding program, and 3) develop new open-pollinated tomato varieties that have durable disease resistance, are adapted to local regions/production systems, and produce fruit with great flavor. 2019-03050- Building Resilient Foliar Disease Management Strategies for the Organic Table Beet Industry This is an Integrated research and extension project in New York (NY). NY is the center of table beet production in the United States for processing into cans/jars, snack foods and juices. The viability of the organic table beet industry is critically threatened by the lack of efficacious and sustainable disease management practices. The priority fungal diseases are Cercospora leaf spot (CLS; caused by Cercospora beticola), and Phoma leaf spot (PLS; caused by Phoma betae). These diseases deleteriously affect foliar health and defoliation makes harvesting by top-pulling machinery impossible resulting in crop loss. In conventional production, foliar disease management relies upon synthetic fungicides. Our goal is to identify components of an integrated disease management program of immediate benefit to organic farmers focusing on improved OMRI-approved seed treatments for P. betae control, OMRI-approved foliar sprays for CLS and PLS, cultivars with enhanced disease resistance, and UV-C for CLS control.
Fiscal Year 2020 NIFA projects making about 20 awards in 2020. Pertinent details to be provided by Program at a future date.

 


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