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Apr 18, 2023
The Organic Center and Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research provides $2.4 million in funding

The Organic Center and the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) announced the provision of $2.4 million in matching funds for outreach and research programs in 2023 and 2024 that support the advancement of organic farming.

FFAR logoThe pre-application process for funds opens on April 18. These funds – half to be awarded this year and half in 2024 – will support several projects through two distinct initiatives, the Organic Training for Agricultural Professionals Prize and the Research Grants Program award, over the next three years.

“The value of organic research and an open channel of information exchange cannot be underestimated,” said Dr. Amber Sciligo, Director of Science Programs for The Organic Center. “Research, training, and technical support are the foundations of any strong agricultural system. Our continued collaboration with FFAR matches support dollar-for-dollar for selected projects that help expand information sharing and advance critical research on organic farming practices and climate change.”

“Transitioning to organic farming requires reliable, research-based information farmers can trust to address a broad range of production, marketing and other challenges,” said Dr. LaKisha Odom, FFAR scientific program director for Soil Health. “FFAR’s partnership with The Organic Center is a two-fold investment that both expands the reach of successful organic education and outreach projects to reach new farmers and supports research that will help future organic farmers remain resilient and profitable in the face of climate, agronomic and socioeconomic challenges.”

Priority areas for research and extension projects were first identified through an outreach campaign beginning in 2019 at an Organic Research Consortium Convening event co-organized by The Organic Center and FFAR. The gathering was attended by a broad array of farmers, researchers, policymakers, industry members, and non-profits to develop a roadmap for research areas that would have the biggest impact on moving the organic sector forward, and was followed by a webinar open to the public and a survey to organic stakeholders.

That initial research and identification of priority areas resulted in an infusion in 2021 of $1.2 million in funding from FFAR and The Organic Center.

Award details

The funds for 2023 and 2024 will award:

Organic Training for Agricultural Professionals Prize

The Organic Training for Agricultural Professionals Prize to up to six applicants each year showing the greatest success in training agronomic groups and professionals in organic practices. A total of $800,000 per year for a total of $1.6 million over two years has been allocated to the Prize to advance the impacts of the recipients’ education programs. Pre-applications will open on April 18, 2023, and close on June 1, 2023. Programs/Applicant programs are required to provide matching funds for this prize.

Organic Center-FFAR joint Organic Research Program

The Organic Center-FFAR joint Organic Research Program of a maximum of two grants up to $200,000 per project for each of 2023 and 2024, for a total of $400,000 annually and $800,000 over two years, for projects ranging between one and three years. Successful projects in 2023 will connect climate change mitigation and soil health practices to production. The 2024 research grant program will focus on organic agronomic and socioeconomic research, addressing barriers preventing farmers from transitioning to organic or continuing to farm organically. Pre-applications will open on April 18, 2023, and close on June 1, 2023. Matching funds are not required.

For both the Extension Prize and the Research Grant programs, priority will be given to applicants that have a strong history of serving under-represented farmers, and demonstrate a critical lens in exploring systemic barriers, on projects that demonstrate an ability to use systems-based, cutting-edge techniques to change the trajectory of organic for the future, and on projects in the Northeast region working with organic dairy.

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