In Washington D.C., the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture authorized $17.6 million for research and outreach activities to support the organic agriculture sector. Funded through NIFA’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative, which was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, the grants are targeted to extension projects that enhance the ability of producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards to grow and market high quality organic products.
As the fastest growing segment of U.S. agriculture, the organic industry reached a record $43.3 billion last year and NIFA will add this investment to further improve the productivity and success of organic agriculture, including seed-breeding. Priority areas include biological, physical and social science research, including economics. Funded projects will aid farmers and ranchers with whole-farm planning by delivering practical research-based information and improving the ability for growers to develop the Organic System Plan required for certification.