|Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Latest Investments to Connecting Consumers to Their Food While Creating New Market Opportunities for Producers|
|NEW YORK, Sept. 28, 2016 – At the New York Times Food for Tomorrow Conference, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced more than $56 million in grants to strengthen local and regional food systems, support farmers markets, and fund organic research. Since 2009, USDA has invested over $1 billion in more than 40,000 local food businesses and infrastructure projects.|
- $21.4 million for Organic Research and Extension Program grants for 26 projects to help organic farmers and ranchers improve business operations and bring more organic food to the table of consumers. The grants are funded through the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and the Organic Transitions Program (ORG), two programs administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
In conjunction with the funding announcements, Vilsack announced $48.1 million in available fiscal year 2017 funding through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) to support systems-based research and extension activities that accelerate science-based solutions and new technology for the specialty crop industry. Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. The Specialty Crop Research Initiative was authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill to invest in long-term solutions that address problems in the overlapping systems of production, distribution and processing, and consumers and markets.
USDA is committed to helping organic agriculture grow and thrive. USDA strongly supports the organic sector through a wide variety of programs, including conservation grants, organic crop insurance, certification cost-share, organic market news, and simplified microloans. To learn more about USDA support for organic agriculture, visit the updated organic portal at www.usda.gov/organic.
29 Sept 2016