Organic Center wins USDA funding for 2018 Confluences conference

The Organic Center was awarded a $50,000 grant this week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to host its third Organic Confluences Summit in 2018. The grant will be funded by USDA’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) (Award #2017-51300-26850), and was one of 16 grants awarded this year by the program to fund research, education and extension projects to advance organic agriculture.

“We are extremely appreciative of USDA’s support for this conference. The competition for funding was very tough, and we are excited to have received the full funding amount allowed for conferences,” said Dr. Jessica Shade, Director of Science Programs for The Organic Center. “Funding for our Confluences conference is critical because it provides a platform for solving large-scale multidisciplinary problems that the organic sector is facing."

The 2018 Organic Confluences Summit will be held May 21-22, 2018, in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the Organic Trade Association’s Annual Policy Conference. It will evaluate the ways that organic farmers get their information, such as through traditional extension programs and new, innovative approaches. It will look at what's working well and where there are challenges to be addressed.

In May 2016, The Organic Center convened a group of thought leaders including farmers, scientists, industry members and key policymakers in the first-ever Organic Confluences Summit. The ground-breaking conference examined areas where organic research could complement federal agricultural conservation and sustainability programs. Its 2017 summit looked at how to improve the dissemination and adoption of scientific organic research.

The Organic Center will again spearhead and coordinate the 2018 summit, which will be hosted in collaboration with USDA’s Economic Research Service and Oregon State University. Participants will include organic and transitioning farmers, researchers, extension agents, non-profits and other educational organizations, and key industry and policy influencers.

The Organic Center’s grant was one of two conference grants awarded. Sixteen grants totaling $16.49 million were made this year through the OREI program. OREI funds research, education and extension projects to help improve yields, quality and profitability for organic producers and processors.

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