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Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program – Organic Transitions (ORG)

Grants to USA IHEs for Research to Enhance
Organic Crop and Livestock Production

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

Deadline Date:

03/15/21 5:00 PM ET Receipt


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Grants to USA universities and colleges for integrated research in identified priority areas in the organic agriculture industry. Applicants are advised that required registrations may take several weeks to complete. Collaborative projects are encouraged. Projects may include both crop and livestock research.

One of the primary goals and objectives of the ORG program is to address practices and systems particularly associated with organic crops, organic animal production, and organic systems that integrate crop and animal production.

Priority Areas for FY 2021 and 2022: NIFA is soliciting applications for ORG in the following areas (not listed in order of importance):

  • Priority 1: Document and understand the effects of organic practices on soil health and fertility; greenhouse gas mitigation; enhanced biodiversity; and understanding of weeds, pests and diseases dynamics for better management. These practices include, but are not limited to: crop rotation; livestock feeding and management; livestock-crop system integration; organic manure, mulch, and/or compost additions; cover crops; and reduced or conservation tillage.
  • Priority 2: Develop improved technologies, methods, models, and metrics to document, describe, and optimize the ecosystem services and the climate variability adaptation and mitigation ability of organic crop, livestock, and integrated crop-livestock production systems.
  • Priority 3: Develop cultural practices and other allowable alternatives to substances recommended for removal from NOP’s National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. This may include effective substitutes or new technologies, cultural practices, cultivars, or breeds that render the NOP-cited substance in question less limiting to production under organic standards. Studies of alternatives should include evaluation of efficacy based on resulting productivity, profitability, and natural resources stewardship effects. NIFA encourages a sustainable whole-systems approach but will also consider proposals that are narrower in scope.
  • Priority 4: Overcome barriers to organic transition. Projects under this priority should address major barriers that limit the transition to organic agriculture in a specific region, crop, or animal production systems and develop practical information and tools for producer use. These can include, but are not limited to, production challenges during the transition period, local and regional infrastructure constraints, marketplace challenges, and administrative or policy barriers. Any constraint must be acknowledged by growers and other stakeholders. Proposals to improve organic animal or crop production management strategies and production systems should be submitted to the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI).


GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 182886

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

NIFA expects to make a total of approximately ten to eleven awards each FY.

Estimated Size of Grant:

The budgets that applicants provide may not exceed $200,000 per year with the total amount budgeted per award not to exceed $600,000.

Term of Contract:

ORG anticipates funding standard Integrated Research, Education, and Extension projects with a project period of 2 to 4 years.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applications may only be submitted by colleges and universities, as defined in 7 U.S.C. 3103, 1994 Institutions, and Hispanic-serving agricultural colleges and universities.

Award recipients may subcontract to organizations not eligible to apply provided such organizations are necessary for the conduct of the project.

Eligible Centers of Excellence:

Funding Restrictions:

Lobbying and advocacy activities are not allowed.

Pre-Application Information:

Applications for FY 2021 funding cycle must be received by 5 p.m. Eastern Time on March 15, 2021.
Applications for FY 2022 funding cycle must be received by 5 p.m. Eastern Time on March 17, 2022.

Prior to preparing an application, it is recommended that the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) first contact an Authorized Representative (AR, also referred to as Authorized Organizational Representative, or AOR) to determine if the organization is prepared to submit electronic applications through If not (e.g., the institution/organization is new to the electronic grant application process through, then the one-time registration process must be completed prior to submitting an application. It can take as long as two weeks to complete the registration process so it is critical to begin as soon as possible.

Applicants must provide matching contributions at minimum on a dollar-for-dollar basis for Federal funds awarded under ORG that provide a particular benefit to a specific agricultural commodity. By statute, match may include funds from an agricultural commodity promotion, research and information programs.

NIFA may waive the matching funds requirement for a grant if it is determined that:
1. The results of the project, while of particular benefit to a specific agricultural commodity, are likely to be applicable to agricultural commodities generally; or
2. The project involves a minor commodity, the project deals with scientifically important research, and the grant recipient is unable to satisfy the matching funds requirement.

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For a list of relevant application documents, go to the Package tab (press Preview) on the link above.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Programmatic Contact:

Dr. Mathieu Ngouajio
National Science Liaison, Plant Systems-Production Division, Institute of Food
Production and Sustainability
National Institute of Food and Agriculture, 305-A Whitten Building
12th Street, SW, and Jefferson Drive Washington, DC
Telephone: (202) 570-1915

Dr. Steve Smith
National Program Leader
Animal Systems Division, Institute of Food Production and Sustainability
Telephone: (202) 445-5480

Dr. Neerja Tyagi
Program Specialist, Plant Systems-Production Division, Institute of Food
Production and Sustainability

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Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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