USDA funding university research on organic

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.

2 Responsesto “USDA funding university research on organic”

  1. Canada Guy says:

    Organic farming methods offer several benefits for the environment and human health as a whole, but unfortunately, there are many misconceptions and falsehoods being spread regarding organic food and farming methods, both by proponents and detractors.  Here are the facts about what organic methods can do for us and what they can’t.

  2. farmboy says:

    Re Canada Boy,

    I found very little of merit in the arguments that you put forward regarding organic and conventionally raised food.  You state that fifty years of studies have proven that there is no difference in the nutritional properties between food from the two sources.  This statement is in fundamental contradiction with Sir Albert Howard, the leading pioneer of organic agriculture, who established through a life time of work and experience that healthy soils make healthy plants make healthy livestock and healthy humans.   To discredit this foundational concept is to dismiss organic agriculture in its entirety.  If you were to re-phrase your argument to state that fifty years of studies have shown there is no difference in the nutritional properties of CERTIFIED ORGANIC FOOD and conventional food, I would also disagree with you, since numerous recent studies have demonstrated significant differences. However, by and large, the differences between certified organic food and conventional food will be slim to none because the certified product is churned out now like a commodity.  Want some nice California organic lettuce in February?  Why bother?   To deny that there are differences in the  nutritional properties of foods based on the way in which they are produced is patently false and empirically indefensible.  As Sit Albert established, a healthy microbiologically active soil with micorrhizal fungi synergisticallt engaged with tplant roots is the  foundation of optimal nutrition which can be manifiest through the food chain if the right conditions are maintained.  To say otherwise is to embrace the old advertising slogan that “parts is parts” and we all know that parts ain’t parts.  Check out Howard – he nailed this 80 years ago.  We have done nothing but deny his conclusions ever since, and our physical, moral, mental and emotional health are collapsing as a consequence.

    By the way, the Land Grant research that USDA is funding  is good stuff – it takes a long time to turn the Queen Elizabeth II around, but she looks great steaming in the oppisite direction!