$66.5 Million Pledged For Produce Industry

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the availability of more than $66.5 million in funding for research and Extension activities to address the needs of America’s specialty crop industry and solve critical organic agricultural production issues.

The grants will be funded through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative and the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative . Both programs are administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and made available through the 2014 Farm Bill.

“Investments in projects to help organic producers and specialty crop growers are an important way USDA helps American farmers establish new business opportunities throughout the country,” said Vilsack. “The projects funded by these programs will build on USDA support for local and regional markets. And strengthening local markets grows the rural economy while improving access to healthy food for millions of children and supplying farmers markets, restaurants and other businesses with fresh, high-quality fruits and vegetables.”

Specialty crops are defined in law as “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.” The Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) develops and disseminates science-based tools to address the needs of specific crops.

The projects funded address research and extension needs for crops that span the entire spectrum of specialty crops production, from researching plant genetics to improving crop characteristics; identifying and addressing threats from pests and diseases; improving production and profitability; developing new production innovations and technologies; and developing methods to respond to food safety hazards.

Past projects include a project at Michigan State University to develop sustainable pollination strategies for U.S. specialty crops, a grant to the University of Arkansas to create genomic resources needed for spinach to develop resistance to the downy mildew pathogen, and a project at North Carolina State University that is developing genomic tools to produce low cost and high quality Christmas trees with properties desired by consumers.

SCRI pre-applications are due March 30, and full applications are due July 2. Check the request for applications for specific program requirements.

Additionally, in fiscal year 2015, NIFA will make $25 million available through the Citrus Disease Research and Extension (CDRE) program, a subset of SCRI focused on research and extension activities to improve citrus health. NIFA will issue a supplemental Request For Applications for CDRE subsequently.

The purpose of the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) is to fund high-priority research, education, and extension projects that enhance the ability of producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards to grow and market high quality organic products. Priority concerns include biological, physical, and social sciences, including economics.

Past projects include a project at Utah State University to foster the development of economically viable and environmentally sustainable farming systems to address the issues facing western U.S. dry land organic wheat producers, a grant to Iowa State University to enhance the sustainability of organic systems by integrating crop and livestock production systems, and a project at Purdue University that addresses crop management issues faced by organic tomato producers.

Funded projects will aid farmers and ranchers with whole farm planning by delivering practical research-based information and will improve the ability for growers to develop the Organic System Plan required for certification.

OREI has eight legislatively-defined goals:

  • Facilitating the development and improvement of organic agriculture production, breeding, and processing methods.
  • Evaluating the potential economic benefits of organic agricultural production and methods to producers, processors and rural communities.
  • Exploring international trade opportunities for organically grown and processed agricultural commodities.
  • Determining desirable traits for organic commodities.
  • Identifying marketing and policy constraints on the expansion of organic agriculture.
  • Conducting advanced on-farm research and development that emphasizes observation of, experimentation with, and innovation for working organic farms, including research relating to production, marketing, food safety, socioeconomic conditions, and farm business management.
  • Examining optimal conservation and environmental outcomes relating to organically produced agricultural products.
  • Developing new and improved seed varieties that are particularly suited for organic agriculture.

A Notification of Intent to Submit an Application is due on April 1. Full applications are due April 30. Please see the request for applications for specific program requirements.

NIFA previously announced more than $51 million in funding for the fiscal year 2014 SCRI grantees.

Additionally, NIFA announced more than $19 million in funding for the fiscal year 2014 OREI grants.

Today’s announcement was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

Source: USDA

Topics: , , ,

Leave a Reply

One comment on “$66.5 Million Pledged For Produce Industry

  1. I’m really glad to see that the USDA wants to do something to help the Organic Farm Industry, instead of the six devils from hell: Syngenta, Bayer, Base, Dow, Monsanto & DuPont, which control 59.8% of Commercial Seeds & 76.1% of Agrochemicals; which ALSO (ha-ha) controls more than 76% of all private R & D (nothing like letting the Fox watch the Henhouse). The USDA talks about how they want Safer Foods & a Healthier Environment, Pray tell me, why are they letting the six devils from hell, keep producing stronger & stronger chemicals in order to fight weeds & disease. It’s because weeds & disease BECOME TOLERANT TO THE SPRAYS: e.g.: Bayer & Syngenta has just asked the Feds to approve TRIPLE HERBICIDE TOLERANT SOYBEANS. AMAZING!!
    I guess NO ONE in the USDA, FDA, EPA ever heard of Mother Natures 3-5 yr. crop rotations program, strip planting, companion planting, beneficial insects, flowers that draw bees for pollinating, etc. OF COURSE NOT, it’s easier to let the devils from hell sell more & more chemicals that is not only HARMFUL to the environment it is HARMFUL to our health. Thank You – Vince

Farm Management Stories
raindrops in standing water
Citrus
September 13, 2017
New Guidance on FSMA Ag Water Compliance, Water Testing, and Farm Inspections Announced
FDA issued a rule to extend compliance dates for agricultural water and announced a start date for farm inspections. Read More
citrus grove damage from Irma at SWFREC in Immokalee
Citrus
September 13, 2017
Florida Farmers Digging out From Impacts of Irma
Damage reports starting to flood in from the field following monster storm, and it's not pretty. Read More
Farm Management
September 10, 2017
$3 Million Available to Train Future Agriculture Leaders
There are a lot more jobs being created than there are graduates with bachelor’s or higher degrees who can fill them. Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2017
Summer News Stories that Have Growers Talking
Farming has been in the media spotlight this year. I asked each of this month’s columnists and contributors for their Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2017
Whose Sustainable Standard Wins?
Retailers’ race to win the most sustainable produce prize leaves growers trying to keep up with fast-developing demands. Read More
Business Planning
September 7, 2017
Make Failure Your Secret Weapon [Opinion]
Something this year's winner of American Vegetable Grower magazine’s Grower Achievement Award, Alan Jones, said really highlights why he and his wife, Leslie, are doing so well with their farm: “To be innovative, you have to be willing to fail.” Read More
overflowing beaker in science lab
GenNext Growers
September 4, 2017
New Collaboration Hopes to Boost Youth Interest in Science
Bayer, 4-H partner to increase interest in science among young people nationwide and cultivate the next generation of innovators shaping agriculture, food, and health. Read More
Raspberry bush at Wish Farms in Florida
Berries
August 31, 2017
Wish Farms Boosts Product Portfolio With Raspberries
Newest commodity to help company reach year-round supply goal, and help fuel consumer-focused marketing campaign. Read More
Citrus
August 30, 2017
How Harvey May Impact Specialty Crop Growers
The devastating human toll from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey has rightly dominated news coverage. Growers and those who work with them, however, should also think about how this historic storm will also affect them.  Read More
Strawberry fieldworker in Florida
Citrus
August 28, 2017
Specialty Crop Concern Feeds Need to Negotiate NAFTA Now
Although trade talk objectives may not deliver the short-term relief for Florida fruit and vegetable growers, they appear on the right track. Read More
Cannabis plant closeup
Citrus
August 28, 2017
3 More Florida Growers Given Green Light to Cultivate Medicinal Cannabis
Once exclusive enterprise continues to expand for more seeking to engage alternative crop endeavor. Read More
multiple hands holding a plate full of veggies
Citrus
August 27, 2017
USDA Releases Software to Help Small Operations with Food Safety Plans
While the free tool was primarily designed for use by small firms, any size manufacturer can opt to use it. Read More
Workers picking in a Florida strawberry field
Citrus
August 25, 2017
Transcending Farm Labor Crisis No Easy Task [Opinion]
Technology could be on cusp of fixing labor problems for growers of crops that are traditionally hand harvested. Read More
Farm Management
August 24, 2017
$35M Invested in Specialty Crop Research
Specialty Crop Research Initiative grant recipients are looking to establish new crops, breed next-generation vegetables and fruits. Read More
Citrus
August 23, 2017
Advice From the FDA on How Growers Can Keep Their Produce Safe
Want tips that will keep your operation on the right side of the FDA when it comes to food safety? American Vegetable Grower® decided the best advice would come directly from the FDA itself.  Read More
The Latest
Citrus
September 19, 2017
Precision in Specialty Crops Gains Momen…
Here are some of the key drivers that may transform your farm in the years ahead. Read More
Citrus
September 19, 2017
Hopes High for Hops Fresh From Florida
When it comes to alternative crop solutions, something good is brewing in the Sunshine State. Do you have what it takes to tap in? Read More
Citrus
September 15, 2017
Help Extended to Hurricane-Weary Farmers…
USDA chief grants extra time and special procedures to document and file claims. Read More
Citrus
September 13, 2017
Florida Farmers Digging out From Impacts…
Damage reports starting to flood in from the field following monster storm, and it's not pretty. Read More
Farm Management
September 10, 2017
$3 Million Available to Train Future Agr…
There are a lot more jobs being created than there are graduates with bachelor’s or higher degrees who can fill them. Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2017
Summer News Stories that Have Growers Ta…
Farming has been in the media spotlight this year. I asked each of this month’s columnists and contributors for their Read More
Business Planning
September 7, 2017
Make Failure Your Secret Weapon [Opinion…
Something this year's winner of American Vegetable Grower magazine’s Grower Achievement Award, Alan Jones, said really highlights why he and his wife, Leslie, are doing so well with their farm: “To be innovative, you have to be willing to fail.” Read More
Citrus
August 30, 2017
How Harvey May Impact Specialty Crop Gro…
The devastating human toll from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey has rightly dominated news coverage. Growers and those who work with them, however, should also think about how this historic storm will also affect them.  Read More
Citrus
August 28, 2017
Specialty Crop Concern Feeds Need to Neg…
Although trade talk objectives may not deliver the short-term relief for Florida fruit and vegetable growers, they appear on the right track. Read More
Citrus
August 28, 2017
3 More Florida Growers Given Green Light…
Once exclusive enterprise continues to expand for more seeking to engage alternative crop endeavor. Read More
Farm Management
August 24, 2017
$35M Invested in Specialty Crop Research
Specialty Crop Research Initiative grant recipients are looking to establish new crops, breed next-generation vegetables and fruits. Read More
Citrus
August 23, 2017
Advice From the FDA on How Growers Can K…
Want tips that will keep your operation on the right side of the FDA when it comes to food safety? American Vegetable Grower® decided the best advice would come directly from the FDA itself.  Read More
Farm Management
August 21, 2017
NAFTA Renegotiation Long Overdue for Flo…
Specialty crop growers in the Sunshine State seek relief from unfair trade deal. Read More
Citrus
August 21, 2017
Take Alternative Routes to Find Conventi…
In order to grow, things have to change. Are you ready? Read More
Citrus
August 19, 2017
More Forage Grants Distributed in Honor …
National forage program is scattering seeds from New York to California to celebrate pollinators. Read More
Citrus
August 17, 2017
How Wicked Will Winter 2018 Be in the U.…
The 200th edition of the Farmers’ Almanac reveals wide-ranging weather patterns and events that would require everything from shovels to shorts. Read More
Farm Management
August 11, 2017
Vegetable Growers’ Food Safety Vigilance…
When you hear about recalls, the horror stories come to mind first. That’s understandable, considering the human cost involved with Read More
Farm Management
August 10, 2017
Climate Change Drives New Healthy Soils …
California offers farmers grants to improve soil health; new program is funded by cap-and-trade auction revenue. Read More