The Organic Center (TOC), which operates under the administrative auspices of the Organic Trade Association (OTA), said Monday it will collaborate on two research projects funded by the USDA’s Organic Agriculture and Research and Extension Initiative (OREI).
The first project is funded by a nearly $2-million grant to the University of Wisconsin at Madison to run now through August 31, 2023. The project will focus on helping develop an organic alternative to conventional celery powder as a meat curing agent. TOC said it will play a key role in outreach and host a website related to the research.
The second project, a one-year grant for $47,299 to the University of Florida in Gainesville to run through August 31, 2020, will be used to assess current practices and research priorities for organic citrus growers combating the devastating citrus greening disease. TOC said it will survey organic citrus growers to help quantify current practices and research priorities, and organize a stakeholder workshop for organic growers and researchers to determine additional needs, including outreach and expanded education. University of Florida researchers will be in charge of analyzing survey data, and TOC will produce a white paper on the topic.
“We are pleased that this funding has been approved to further much needed research, first to develop an organic alternative to sodium and potassium nitrate and nitrite to produce certified organic cured meat, and secondly, to work towards providing tools to organic citrus growers to successfully combat citrus greening,” said Jessica Shade, TOC director of science programs.
OREI supports research projects that specifically address the most critical challenges facing organic growers. The 2018 farm bill signed into law in December approved increasing funding for OREI to $50 million per year by 2023, establishing permanent baseline funding for the program.