Drop in the bucket: Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan yesterday announced that more than $19 million in grants have been awarded to universities across the country to solve critical organic agriculture issues. The Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative, administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), funds projects that will enhance the ability of producers and processors who already have adopted organic standards to grow and market high-quality organic agricultural products. (Release No. 0539.09) While it’s great to see some serious money flowing into universities for sustainable practices, it’s a pittance to what industry spends on biotech and ag-chemical research. We’d love to see more grants available to study industrial ag’s hidden health and environmental costs — something USDA (and universities) don’t seem very interested in.