Competitive Grants Program for Integrated Research, Education, and Extension | How to Apply Now

Competitive Grants Program for Integrated Research, Education, and Extension: Focus on Organic Transitions (United States). The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) invites applications for the Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program, Organic Transitions (ORG).

Competitive Grants Program for Integrated Research, Education, and Extension
Competitive Grants Program for Integrated Research, Education, and Extension

This program, authorized under the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998, supports integrated agricultural research, extension, and education. Administered by NIFA, ORG focuses on enhancing the sustainability and productivity of organic farming systems in the United States.


The deadline for the Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program – Organic Transitions (ORG) is March 7, 2024.

Grant Objectives:

The grant objectives are as follows:

  • Advancing Research: The program highlights the importance of research initiatives enhancing and understanding organic farming practices. This encompasses innovations in pest management, soil health, crop rotation, and other crucial areas.
  • Educational Focus: Organic Transitions prioritizes education by funding projects that share knowledge about organic farming. This includes training programs, workshops, and educational materials tailored to benefit farmers, educators, and the wider community.
  • Extending Knowledge: The extension component concentrates on translating research findings and educational insights into practical support for organic farmers. Funded extension projects aim to offer guidance, resources, and assistance in implementing sustainable and organic practices.


The priorities of the Grant are as follows:

  • Investigate the impact of organic practices on soil health, biodiversity, and climate adaptation. This includes studying crop rotation, livestock management, organic fertilizers, and conservation tillage to enhance resilience and protect resources.
  • Develop technologies to assess and optimize ecosystem services in organic farming, focusing on crop, livestock, and integrated systems.
  • Explore alternative practices to substances on the NOP’s National List, evaluating their effectiveness in terms of productivity, profitability, climate adaptation, and resource stewardship.
  • Address obstacles to transitioning to organic agriculture, providing practical solutions for specific regions, crops, or animal production systems. Projects should consider challenges like the transition period, infrastructure constraints, market issues, pandemic disruptions, and policy barriers. No lobbying or advocacy proposals are allowed.

Grant Types

The types of ORG grants are:

  • Research Grants: Explore key aspects of organic agriculture, covering topics like biodiversity, crop management, soil fertility, and the creation of organic pest control methods.
  • Education Grants: Support initiatives that educate various audiences on organic farming principles. This may involve creating training materials, workshops, and educational programs.
  • Extension Grants: Translate research and educational findings into practical guidance for farmers. These grants facilitate direct engagement with the organic farming community, providing hands-on support and knowledge transfer.

Grant Amount

ORG aims to support Integrated Research, Education, and Extension projects with Standard grants lasting 2 to 4 years. Grants range from $20,000 to a maximum of $1,000,000.

Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria’s of ORG are as follows:

  • For Researchers and Educators: Those with a background in agricultural research or education, including scientists, educators, and extension specialists, are eligible.
  • Institutions and Organizations: Universities, research institutions, and organizations engaged in agriculture and education can submit proposals aligning with Organic Transitions’ goals.
  • Experience Requirement: Applicants typically need to demonstrate experience and expertise in organic agriculture or related fields.
  • Specific Applicants: Applications are limited to colleges and universities, as defined in 7 U.S.C. 3103, 1994 Institutions, and Hispanic-serving agricultural colleges and universities.
  • Subcontracting Possibility: Award recipients have the option to subcontract to organizations not eligible to apply if necessary for project conduct. Failure to meet eligibility criteria may result in exclusion from consideration or disqualification.
  • Submission Limitations: Simultaneous submission of duplicate or predominantly overlapping applications to both ORG and another NIFA program in the same fiscal year is not allowed. Such submissions will not be reviewed, and NIFA may disqualify both applications from consideration.

Application Process

To apply for the Organic Transitions program, follow these steps:

  • Review Eligibility Criteria: Ensure that you and your organization meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the program guidelines. This includes qualifications for researchers, educators, institutions, and organizations.
  • Prepare Your Proposal: Develop a comprehensive proposal addressing the program’s focus on research advancements, educational initiatives, and extension activities in the field of organic agriculture.
  • Check Submission Deadline: Be aware of the submission deadline specified for the current application cycle. Late submissions may not be considered.
  • Visit the Official Website: Access the official website of the Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program – Organic Transitions to find detailed information, guidelines, and the online application portal. (
  • Complete Online Application: Navigate to the provided online application portal and complete the necessary forms. Ensure that all required information and documentation are accurately provided.
  • Submit Supporting Documents: Include all supporting documents as specified in the application requirements. This may involve attaching a detailed project proposal, a cover letter, and a short video testimony if applicable.
  • Submit Application by Deadline: Submit your completed application before the specified deadline. Late submissions may not be accepted.
  • Contact for Further Information: For any additional information or inquiries, contact the program coordinators via the provided contact details ( Reach out to ensure clarity and address any concerns.
  • Await Notification: After submission, await notification from the program regarding the status of your application. Successful applicants will receive further details about the next steps.

Positive Impacts

  • Advancement of Organic Practices: Funded projects contribute to the advancement of organic farming practices, fostering sustainability and environmental stewardship.
  • Knowledge Dissemination: Education and extension initiatives ensure that valuable knowledge reaches farmers, educators, and communities, promoting informed decision-making.
  • Community Engagement: Extension activities enhance community engagement, creating a network of support for organic farmers and fostering collaboration.


The ORG program, led by NIFA, significantly boosts the sustainability of US organic farming. By promoting research, education, and extension efforts, it tackles crucial areas of organic agriculture, fostering innovation and knowledge dissemination. ORG plays a vital role in supporting a resilient and eco-friendly organic farming sector. As the application deadline nears, interested candidates are urged to check eligibility, craft thorough proposals, and submit applications through the official website for consideration in this impactful initiative.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can individuals apply for the Organic Transitions program, or is it limited to organizations and institutions?

Both individuals with a background in agricultural research or education and institutions, including universities and research organizations, are welcome to apply for the Organic Transitions program.

Are there specific qualifications required for researchers and educators applying to the program?

Applicants, especially researchers and educators, are typically expected to show relevant experience and expertise in organic agriculture or related fields.

Can colleges and universities outside the U.S. apply for the Organic Transitions program?

The program primarily focuses on U.S.-based colleges, universities, and institutions, as defined in 7 U.S.C. 3103.



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