Santa Cruz, CA (May 3, 2011) –The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is proud to announce it has awarded 314 grants totaling close to $2.7 million as it begins its 21st year.
OFRF most recently awarded 7 new grants totaling $75,000 in California, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Dakota, Washington, and Ottawa, Canada as part of its spring 2011 grants cycle (see descriptions below). Funded projects include breeding an “Organic-Ready” corn that resists GMO pollen and developing biological control for the apple flea weevil plaguing Michigan’s organic apple growers. OFRF funds both research and educational projects.
“OFRF grants are as vital today in developing research into cutting-edge topics of interest as they were in 1990 when OFRF was founded,” said OFRF’s new executive director Maureen Wilmot.
By having an open call for proposals and welcoming all applicants including farmers and ranchers, OFRF’s grants have long been responsive to emerging issues of concern to the organic community. OFRF grants have empowered farmers to conduct their own research and helped numerous researchers gain additional funds for organic research. OFRF estimates that over $5 million additional funds have been leveraged by their grant recipients to date.
“OFRF sprinkles a little bit of water and allows us to seed an idea, enabling us to become highly successful in acquiring big commitments of both federal and state money,” said Dr. Sean Swezey, extension researcher at the University of California – Santa Cruz. Swezey is the recipient of a recent OFRF grant to study pest management in organic Brussels sprouts. He also has the distinction of being awarded more OFRF grants than any other individual.
While the organization’s grant program may appear small compared to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s $18 million per year organic research program, it remains the only source of small grants to fund organic research on a nationwide basis open to all applicants.
OFRF awards grants through a competitive process and proposals are considered twice a year. Upcoming deadlines are May 16 and November 15, 2011.
Details on applying are available on the OFRF website at http://ofrf.org/grants/apply.html. Prospective applicants may contact Grants Program Director Jane Sooby by phone at 831-426-6606 or by email at email@example.com.
One such project was:
Matthew Grieshop, Center for Integrated Plant Systems, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI: $10,229. Apple flea weevil is an emerging pest in Michigan that threatens the organic apple industry throughout the Great Lakes region. This study will compare weevil control potential of biopesticides and cultural methods on three certified organic apple farms. Because the weevil lives in the soil for about half of its life cycle, researchers think that using a weed flamer and cultivation may effectively manage it.