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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:

02/27/20 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.

Practices and systems to be addressed include those associated with organic crops, organic animal production, and organic systems that integrate crop and animal production.

Priority Areas for FY2020:

  • Priority 1: Document and understand the effects of organic practices including, but not limited to: crop rotation; livestock feeding and management; livestock-crop system integration; organic manure, mulch, and/or compost additions; cover crops; effects of reduced or conservation tillage on soil health and fertility; greenhouse gas mitigation; enhanced biodiversity; and understanding of weeds, pests and diseases dynamics for better management.
  • 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 growing conditions. Studies of alternatives should include evaluation of efficacy based on resulting productivity, profitability, and natural resources stewardship effects. A sustainable whole-systems approach is encouraged, but proposals that are narrower in scope will also be considered.
  • 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 ten to eleven awards.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Budgets may not exceed $200,000 per year with the total amount awarded not to exceed $500,000.

Term of Contract:

ORG anticipates funding standard Integrated Research, Education, and Extension projects with a project period of 1 to 3 years.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible Applicants:

Applications may only be submitted by colleges and universities as defined in section 1404 of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (NARETPA, 7 U.S.C. 3103). Section 1404 of NARETPA was amended by sections 7101 and 7129 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-246), sections 7101, 7129 (c) (4)) to define Hispanic-serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities (HSACUs) and to include research foundations maintained by eligible colleges or universities (see Definitions in Part VIII, E of the RFA.) Applications may also be submitted by 1994 LandGrant Institutions (defined in 7 CFR 3430), HSACUs, and research foundations maintained by eligible colleges or universities.

Further eligibility information:

Eligible Centers of Excellence:

Funding Restrictions:

Lobbying and advocacy activities are not allowed.

Pre-Application Information:

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.

Applications for FY 2020 funding cycle must be received by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on February 27, 2020.

For FY 2020, when a grant provides a particular benefit to a specific agricultural commodity, the grant recipient must match awarded USDA funds with cash and in-kind contributions on dollar-for-dollar basis from non-Federal sources.

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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
National Institute of Food and Agriculture, 6501 Beacon Drive, Kansas City, MO 64133
Telephone: (202)-445-5480

Administrative/Business Contact:

Awards Management Division (AMD)

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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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