WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2011–Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced today 23 new grants to research and extension programs working to help organic producers and processors. 


The grants, totaling $19 million in all, are funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) through two programs: the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and the Organic Transitions Program (ORG).


"As more and more farmers adopt organic agriculture practices, they need the best science available to operate profitable and successful organic farms," said Merrigan. "America's brand of organic agricultural goods is world-renowned for its high-quality and abundance of selection. These research and extension projects will give producers the tools and resources to produce quality organic food and boost farm income, boosting the 'Grown in America' brand."


The grants announced today include more than $15 million in 2011 grants through the OREI.  For more OREI information, visit www.nifa.usda.gov/fo/organicagricultureresearchandextensioninitiative.cfm.


In addition, the grants announced today include nearly $4 million through the ORG. In FY 2011, ORG focused on environmental services provided by organic farming systems that support soil conservation and contribute to climate change mitigation. More information on the program can be found online at www.nifa.usda.gov/fo/organictransitionsprogram.cfm.


Fiscal Year 2011 projects were awarded in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and West Virginia.

A full list of awardees can be found online at: www.nifa.usda.gov/newsroom/news/2011news/organic_awards.html.


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