New Grant to Iowa State Will Support Organic Soil Research

AMES, Iowa — Iowa State University was awarded a grant to study the effect of cover crops, soil amendments and reduced tillage on carbon sequestration and soil health in a long-term organic vegetable system. USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced $691,969 in funding as part of its Organic Transitions Program. NIFA awarded more than $4 million through the program that is focused on environmental services provided by organic farming systems that support soil conservation and contribute to climate change mitigation. "The research will improve organic vegetable farming practices to optimize pest management, crop quality and profitability, while enhancing soil quality to help mitigate global climate change," said Kathleen Delate, professor of horticulture and agronomy, who is leading the research. The project will provide organic producers with science-based information they can use to make decisions affecting the sustainability of their operations. "The market for organic products is rapidly growing through the United States and many producers are adopting organic practices to meet this demand," said Roger Beachy, NIFA director. "Our goal through these projects is to explore factors affecting organic practices to guide producers as they adopt these methods." U.S. producers are turning to certified organic farming systems as a potential way to lower input costs, decrease reliance on nonrenewable resources, capture high-value markets and premium prices and boost farm income. Since the late 1990s, U.S. organic production has seen marked growth. More than two-thirds of U.S. consumers buy organic products at least occasionally, and 28 percent buy organic products weekly. Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. More information is at: