Saturday, 18 June 2011

organic funding agents

Alternative Farming Systems Information Center

March 2007
This resource is part of our Sustainable Agriculture: Information Access Tools tutorial which identifies the best sources that address sustainable agriculture, research and information sources, contacts and experts, research funding sources, educational and career opportunities, and upcoming events.
This fact sheet lists U.S. government and non-government entities that provide funding for research activities related to sustainable agriculture including organic farming and food, integrated pest management, water quality issues related to agriculture, rural community and small farm topics, alternative and value-added marketing practices, and more. Emphasis is on research funds, not farming, housing, regulatory or compliance funding. For these, see Where Can I Find Agricultural Funding Sources,
Availability of research funds varies according to applicant category: some funds are available to individuals, some to organizations and some to agencies. There may be additional stipulations. Contacting each program office separately for complete information is highly recommended.
Information services that can assist with the grant-making process – pointers to texts on grant application strategies, complimentary literature searches and referrals to online sources and expertise – are available from the Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC) at the National Agricultural Library. See Applying for a SARE Grant?
This listing is not meant to be comprehensive. Although we have checked contact and applicability information, AFSIC does not guarantee the accuracy of the information nor does it endorse any program. We will appreciate any comments, suggestions and/or corrections.
I. General Information and Directories
Created through a partnership of Federal Agencies, this site directs grant seekers to over 900 programs offered across 26 Federal grant-making Agencies. Using the “Find Opportunities” function, one can search for grant opportunities throughout the Federal government and/or register to receive all e-mail notifications of new grant postings.

Community of Science Funding Opportunities Database
Subscription required for access.

The Foundation Center
“The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. grantmakers and their grants – a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector.” In addition to the Web site, there are five regional library/learning centers and a national network of more than 300 Cooperating Collections. Information and directories for individual and non-profit grantseekers.

North American Forum on Agricultural Research (NOFAR)
“The objective of this site is to provide links to North American institutions and organizations active in or with interest or association with agricultural research for development. It is hoped that the site will facilitate contact between individuals within North America and contact between individuals in the North and South.” Links to farmers organizations, non-profits, government agencies, funding agencies, private industry, universities and colleges.

II. Selected Directories and Information Specific to Federal Agriculture Programs
Building Better Rural Places, by Margaret Krome, Susan LeVan and David Zodrow, 2004
“This extensive directory of federal programs that offer assistance in sustainable agriculture, forestry, conservation and community development was compiled in 2004 by U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies working together for sustainable rural development, in collaboration with The Michael Fields Agricultural Institute and the National Center for Appropriate Technology. This guide is written for anyone seeking help from federal programs to foster innovative enterprises in agriculture and forestry in the United States.”

Federal Funding Sources for Rural Areas Database, Rural Information Center, National Agricultural Library, 2007
“Search the database for information on rural federal programs. Full program description and contact information for each program. This database is in cooperation with the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance.”

Federal Sustainable Agriculture Program Primer, National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture, 2006

Funding Opportunities, ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT)
Updated weekly.

Funding Opportunities: Funding Sources for Projects in Sustainable Agriculture, Food Systems, and Organic Farming, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP), University of California, 2006

Grants for IPM, Pennsylvania Integrated Pest Management Program (PA IPM), 2006.

III. Federal Funding Programs by Agency
A. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Current Research Information System (CRIS)
The Current Research Information System is USDA's documentation and reporting system for ongoing and recently completed research projects in agriculture, food and nutrition and forestry. Explore currently funded research topics and programs by funding agency, topic area, region, etc.

Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES)
About Us
“Through grants offered by CSREES, the USDA enables researchers throughout the United States to solve problems critical to our farmers, consumers, and communities. CSREES is the USDA's major extramural research agency, funding both individuals and institutions.” Information about Research Emphasis Areas; Types of Research; Who Does the Research and Research Program Development and Management.

Funding Opportunities
Site includes links to information about the National Research Initiative (NRI); Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program (ICGP), Special Research Grants Program (SRGP) and Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR). Specific areas include: Biobased Products and Bioenergy, NRI; Community Food Projects; Global Change Initiatives, NRI; Global Change: Carbon Cycle, NRI; Integrated Organic Program, ICGP; Integrated Pest Management Centers; Managed Ecosystems, NRI; Methyl Bromide, ICGP; Outreach, Assistance: Socially Disadvantaged Farmers, Ranchers; Pest Management Alternatives, SRGP; Rural and Community Development, SBIR; Small Farms, Agricultural Prosperity, NRI; Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE); Water and Watersheds, NRI; Watershed, Conservation Effects Assessment, ICGP; and Weedy, Invasive Species, NRI.

Funding Mechanisms
Description, directory and contacts for research, education and extension activities at partner institutions through three main CSREES funding mechanisms: formula funds, competitive grants and non-competitive grants and agreements. (March 2005)

Regional IPM Centers: Funding Opportunities

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)
Program offers three different types of grants for funding of relevant research projects: Research and Education, Professional Development, and Producer Grants.

USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA)
Partnership and Cooperative Agreements
"RMA" annually announces availability of funds for partnership and cooperative agreements via the Federal Register and its Web site. Partners conduct risk management and crop insurance education, community outreach and assistance, and research and development activities.”

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service
Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP)
“The Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP) provides matching funds to State Departments of Agriculture and other appropriate State agencies to assist in exploring new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products, and to encourage research and innovation aimed at improving the efficiency and performance of the U.S. marketing system.”

USDA Rural Development (RD)
Rural Development
Information, loan and grant resources for a variety of community-based programs aimed at helping improve the economy and quality of life in rural America including: Rural Cooperative Development Grants; Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG); Research on Rural Cooperative Opportunities and Problems Program; and funds related to 1890 Land-Grants, Research on the Economic Impact of Cooperatives, and Small/Minority Producer Grants.

USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
While not a direct source of grant funds, “ARS continually looks for opportunities to partner with businesses, other federal agencies, state and local governments, and universities. These partnerships are designed to augment research programs, expedite research results to the private sector, exchange information and knowledge, stimulate new business and economic development, enhance U.S. trade, preserve the environment, and improve the quality of life for all Americans.” Information, licensing information and contacts.

B. Other Federal Agencies
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Grants and Debarment: Find Current Funding Opportunities
Contains information on CFDA Catalogue, Grants Competition, Small Business Gateway and Open Announcements, and

U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Science
Colleges and universities, non-profit organizations, for-profit commercial organizations, state and local governments and unaffiliated individuals may submit grant applications in response to grant solicitation notices. Programs include the Biomass Research and Development Initiative. and

C. Other Federal, Regional and State Government Resources to Consider
·         State Land-grant institutions and Experiment Stations. See CSREES State and National Partners and State of the States, 2nd Edition: Organic Systems Research at Land Grant Institutions, 2001 – 2003, Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF)
·         State Departments of Agriculture – conservation, commodity and marketing programs. See State Agriculture Departments directory, State and Local Government on the Net (SNGN),
·         Fish and Wildlife agencies
·         Rural and Conservation Development (RC&D) offices. See Regional Contacts, National Association of RC&D Councils, Inc.
·         Water Resources and Environmental agencies

IV. Foundations and Non-Government Organizations
Horticultural Research Institute (HRI), American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA)
HRI strives to fund research that specifically deals with green industry related issues. HRI-supported projects focus on significant problems, regulatory issues or emerging opportunities in the nursery and landscape industry, encourage environmentally responsible management practices, increase nursery crop producers’ business or financial expertise or improve and expand the market for plant material.”

Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Newman’s Own Foundation
Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation
“The Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation promotes a sustainable and just social and natural system by supporting grassroots organizations and movements committed to this goal.”

The Organic Center

Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF)
“Since 1992, OFRF’s grantmaking program has awarded more than $1.5 million for over 200 projects. Our grantmaking objective is to generate practical, science-based knowledge to support modern organic farming systems. OFRF-funded project emphasize grower-researcher collaboration, studies conducted on-farm and/or in certified organic settings, and outreach of project results.”

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Other non-governmental sources: Many additional organizations may offer research grant opportunities. Most are related to specific commodities, topics, populations and/or regions. Non-profit organizations – farm, animal welfare, food and consumer groups; trade and commodity organizations; private companies – commercial food manufacturers and distributors, farm and livestock suppliers, etc. – may offer support for special projects. Some helpful directories:

organic glosarry


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Animal husbandry
Animal husbandry: Rearing animals in agricultural production. Organic animal husbandry aims to improve the health and natural defences of animals by rearing them appropriate to their natural needs.
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Animal welfare
Animal welfare: Of crucial importance to organic farmers ensuring a stress free and appropriate environment for the different farm animals.


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The number and variability of living organisms within a given area. Organic farming leads to a high level of biodiversity.


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Conversion: Turning a non-organic agricultural holding into an organic one. The lengthy and complicated process is required by regulations in order to be able to use organic logos and labelling.


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Eco-tourism: Tourism based on reconnection with the natural and rural environment rather than the man-made metropolitan equivalent, and therefore highly suited to organic farms.


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Feed: Food given to livestock on agricultural holdings. Organic feed ideally comes from the same farm as the animal, is produced without chemical synthetic pesticides and meets the animals’ nutritional and developmental needs.
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Fertilisers: Manure and other organic matter are used in organic farming to boost soil fertility rather than using synthetic fertilisers.
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Free range
Free range: An agricultural system favoured by organic farmers allowing animals ample outdoor space to wander about and feed at their leisure.


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Genetically modified organisms (GMO)
Genetically modified organisms (GMO): Plants and animals with altered genetic material through scientific intervention which are banned in organic farming.
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Green manure crops
Green manure crops: Plants grown to prevent soil erosion and nutrient leaching after harvesting, and to add nutrients and organic matter to the soil when being ploughed into the ground. Green manure crops are in regular use in organic farming.
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Growth promoters
Additives such as antibiotics added to animal feed to increase the rate of growth and development of those animals. Growth promoters are prohibited in organic farming worldwide and in EU agriculture generally.


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Hedges: Rows of shrub-like vegetation forming living boundaries around agricultural fields. Hedges are used in organic farming to foster biodiversity and protect against wind erosion and water runoff.
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Herbicides (chemical synthetic)
Herbicides (chemical synthetic): Chemicals applied to agricultural fields to kill unwanted weeds or other plants growing among commercial or animal feed crops. Chemical synthetic herbicides are prohibited in organic farming.
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The organic substance created from decayed or decaying plant or animal matter, which provides nutrients for plant growth and improves soil structure. Humus is one of the primary means of boosting fertility in organic production.


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Legumes: A family of plants including peas, beans, clover and lupins grown for animal and human consumption and as green manure crops (see above). Legumes are particularly useful in organic farming because they “fix” atmospheric nitrogen into the soil


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Market channels
Market channels: Ways by which products are made available for purchase to consumers. Market channels for organic food and drink are very diverse.
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Meadows: Areas of grassland with diverse low level plants used for light grazing are protected by organic farmers, to promote biodiversity.
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Mutilation: In agriculture, the removal or reduction of tails, horns, beaks and other body parts of animals is applied to prevent disease or injury in confined conditions. Organic farming restricts this practice and employs free range (see above) systems that make it unnecessary.


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Nutrition: Achieving a desirable level of livestock nutrition is one of the primary goals of organic farming. Access to roughage for all animals is essential in organic farming.


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Pasture: Vegetation such as grasses and legumes used as feed by grazing animals. Organic farming provides access to pasture for cattle.
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Processing: The procedure of turning raw plant and animal ingredients into feed and food, more complex and desirable products for human consumption. The organic processing sector echoes organic farming’s restrictions on artificial inputs.
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Processing aids
Processing aids: Substances used for the processing of feed and food, which are afterwards not contained in the final products. Organic processing allows only a few processing aids.
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Pesticides (chemical synthetic)
Pesticides (chemical synthetic): Chemicals used as herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and nematicides applied to agricultural field-crops and animals to fight pests, pathogens or diseases. Chemical synthetic pesticides are prohibited in organic farming.


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Soil erosion
Soil erosion: The removal of soil by wind and water, which can be accelerated through tillage. Organic farming counteracts soil erosion by improving organic content and soil structure and by using green manure, hedges (see above) and native vegetation.
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Stocking level
Stocking level: The number of livestock per hectare grazed on a particular agricultural field. Organic farmers prefer a low stocking level, to minimise stress, pest and disease pressure, soil compaction and erosion, and to improve farmland biodiversity.


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Wide crop rotation
Wide crop rotation: The regular shifting of different crops in agricultural fields over many years to discourage pest and disease build-up and add valuable nutrients. Legumes (see below), for example, provide nitrogen for use by subsequent crops.
A-F | G-L | M-W