WSU-ISU partnership lands biggest grant nationally

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced today that the USDA is awarding more than $4.5 million in research grants to address organic agricultural issues and priorities, including global competitiveness. The largest single grant nationally went to a partnership between Washington State University and Idaho State University.

“To succeed in organic agriculture, producers must be creative and willing to take certain risks – attributes that American farmers have exhibited since the early days of farming,” Johanns said. “This research will help organic producers to manage their risks by providing information that will help to increase production while decreasing costs.”

Through the Integrated Organic Program, USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) will administer eight grants to 13 states.

The grants will focus on two areas; improving the competitiveness of organic producers, and assisting producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards to grow and market high quality organic agricultural products.

Organic agriculture is heavily influenced by local conditions, and making the transition from conventional production to organic production is generally an information-intensive process. To help farmers in this transition, CSREES generates new information through grants for research and outreach.

The fiscal year 2006 grants are being awarded to the following:
* Washington State University and Idaho State University, $690,557, “Developing Wheat Varieties for Organic Agricultural Systems”
* Cornell University, $374,627, “Optimizing Biological Nitrogen Fixation in Organic Cropping Systems for Sustainable Nutrient Management”
* University of Georgia and University of Arkansas, $313,515, “Out-of-Season Small Fruit Production for Improved Profitability of Organic Farming”
* University of Wisconsin, $374,478, “Crop Plant Nutrition and Insect Response in Organic Field Crop Production: Linking Farmer Observation to University Research and Extension”
* University of Vermont, University of Arkansas, and University of Maine, $666,839, “Using New Alternatives to Enhance Adoption of Organic Apple Production through Integrated Research Education and Extension”
* University of Minnesota, $615,840, “Beyond Corn and Soybean: Alternative Organic Crops for the Upper Midwest”
* University of Florida and University of Georgia, $364,156, “Organic Production of Blueberries in Southeastern United States: Development of Best Management Practices”
* Clemson University, $431,203, “Organic Farming of Marine Shrimp: A Holistic Approach to Management of Feeds & Microbial Dynamics”
* Ohio State University, $545,102, “Transition Strategies that Control Perennial Weeds and Build Soil”
* University of Florida, $226,139, “Crop Diversification Complexity and Pest and Beneficial Organism Communities in Humid Tropical and Sub-Tropical Climatic Regimes”

CSREES advances knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities by supporting research, education, and extension programs in the Land-Grant University System and other partner organizations. For more information, visit http://www.csrees.usda.gov.

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