Thursday, October 27, 2011

USDA Backed Grants Funding Organic Research at Universities

Sunbright Organics in Tuskegee, Alabama
On Tuesday the US Department of Agriculture announced that it will be funding 23 grants to help farmers in 18 states grow organic crops.  The new grants total $19 million and are aimed at helping small and mid-size organic farmers meet consumer demand and increase farm income at the same time. 

In Alabama, Auburn University is one of the institutions to receive federal money.  At AU the grant will fund integrated pest management research on cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and collard greens, and will help keep organic farms like Sunbright Organics in Tuskagee in business as a result.  Since green leaf vegetables attract a lot of pests and organic farmers shy away from spraying their crops with chemicals, the grant aims to help find an organic way to control these pests that farms like Sunbright Organics can use.

The USDA's strategic plan has a goal to increase the acreage of organically grown crucifers in a tri-state area of the south, and also increase organic production by 25% by the year 2015.  Learn more here.

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