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Organic Transitions Program (ORG)

On the heels of the publication of the Request for Applications (RFA) for the the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has also just released this year’s RFA for the Organic Transitions Program (ORG). Like they did with OREI, NIFA has opted to release the fiscal year (FY) 2019 and 2020 RFAs concurrently.

ORG is an integrated research, education, and extension competitive grants program supporting research projects that address research challenges associated with the transition to organic agriculture. These projects provide education to farmers who are newly adopting organic practices, helping transitioning producers better understand the economic and environmental benefits of organic production.

ORG projects may last a period of one to three years and NIFA anticipates there will be approximately $5,800,000 available for each fiscal year. However, unlike OREI which is supported by mandatory funding from the farm bill, ORG relies solely on appropriated funds which are provided at the discretion of Congress. Because NIFA is releasing the FY 2020 ORG RFA before appropriated funding has been finalized, the availability of funding for FY 2020 projects may change from current estimates. According to NIFA, the decision to release the FY 2019 and FY 2020 RFAs simultaneously was made to avoid possible delays in future RFAs, which are likely given the Administration’s proposed move of NIFA from the Washington Capital Area, and the resulting loss of staff capacity to administer NIFA’s grant programs.

The deadline to apply for the FY 2019 ORG RFA is May 16, 2019. Applicants are also encouraged to begin their applications for FY 2020 early, however the deadline for FY 2020 is not until February 27, 2020.

NOTE - NIFA has released BOTH the FY19 and FY20 RFAs at the same time - hence 2 different deadlines.