Researchers often have innovative ideas, but they need capital to pursue their next project. The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) provides funding to researchers in order to help increase the available information about organic farming. We recently spoke with the communications team of OFRF to learn more about the organization’s goals and ongoing initiatives to support agricultural researchers.
The Organic Farming Research Foundation employs advocacy, outreach and education to increase the success of new and established organic farmers. By doing this, the Foundation hopes to increase conservation and to restore soil and waterways, while also providing opportunities for economic advancement to farmers.
In order to help farmers be successful, the Foundation funds research of organic farming methods. Through this work, OFRF has advanced scientific knowledge and improved the practices, ecological sustainability, and economic prosperity of organic farming. Since its founding in 1990, OFRF has invested 3.2 million dollars in 337 research grant awards focused on top challenges identified by organic farmers. Over time, OFRF has been able to advance the careers of young scientists, many of whom have gone on to contribute influential research findings and education to the agricultural community. Many researchers who receive grants from the Foundation can use this initial backing to then leverage additional funding from the USDA. This opens researchers to a variety of opportunities to continue their research.
OFRF also makes all research findings available for free on their website, in order to educate the public about organic farming research and inspire other researchers to start projects that elaborate on existing findings. They also present at relevant conferences. Some of their most influential projects to date have “advanced the methodology and knowledge surrounding how to best solve the problem of soilborne disease, how to utilize beneficial organisms like bats and birds for pest control, and how growing new crops like goji berries can be economically advantageous.” Advances have also been made in insect and weed management, cultivar development and coping with weather extremes such as drought and flooding.
This year, OFRF again used a farmer survey to gather information about what research projects would be most beneficial. Their grants funded research projects that explore small grain production, assistance for new and transitioning organic farmers and animal breeding for organic systems. These projects are ongoing, and when complete, the Foundation will make the results available on their website.
For 2018, OFRF hopes to double the number of grants they are able to fund. They are currently in the process of seeking supporters for this effort. In order to remain connected with the Foundation, sign up for their online newsletter, where OFRF shares articles, research findings, requests for conference proposals, and information on how researchers can apply for grants.
Overall, the Organic Farming Research Foundation is doing great work to help expand the field of agricultural research. Conseris also supports researchers of all disciplines. Try a free 30-day trial today and see how Conseris can improve your next project.