The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said Thursday it is offering $3.8 million in grants to "address critical issues" related to organic agriculture.
One area of focus is the "establishment of cultural practices and other allowable alternatives to substances recommended for removal from the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances," the USDA said.
The National List identifies the synthetic substances that may be used and the nonsynthetic (natural) substances that may not be used in organic crop and livestock production. The list also identifies a limited number of non-organic substances that may be used in or on processed organic products.
The agency said the funding comes from its National Institute of Food and Agriculture's (NIFA) Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants - Organic Transitions (ORG) program, which supports research, extension, and education programs that boost organic livestock and crop production.
Other program priority areas include:
- documentation of the effects of organic practices
- development of technologies, methods, and metrics for ecosystem services and climate adaptation and mitigation ability of organic crop, livestock, and integrated crop-livestock production systems
Eligible applicants include land-grant, Hispanic-serving, and private and state institutions. The deadline for applications is March 29. See details here.