News Release – Secretary Ross welcomes USDA funding for organic research

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross is congratulating the University of California at
Santa Cruz for winning a grant of more than $2.6 million from the USDA for
organic research.  The grant is among $19 million being issued nationally by the
USDA for organic research and marketing.

The UC Santa Cruz project will facilitate a series of seminars, workshops,
newsletters and online resources to share research that will help organic
growers improve environmental sustainability and economic viability.

“With California’s place as the leading agricultural state in the country,
including organic farming, this is an excellent investment of federal
resources,” said Secretary Ross.   “UC Santa Cruz is well positioned to put this
grant to good use by providing targeted research information to our rapidly
growing organic sector.”

The most recent survey of national organic production by the USDA showed
California with 36 percent of all sales of organic commodities, on 470,000 acres
of farmland.  Since the late 1990s, U.S. organic production has seen significant
growth. U.S. producers are increasingly turning to certified organic farming
systems as a potential way to decrease reliance on nonrenewable resources and
compete in high-value markets. Today more than two-thirds of U.S. consumers buy
organic products at least occasionally, and 28 percent buy organic products
weekly.

For more information about the USDA national grant program, please see:  http://www.nifa.usda.gov/newsroom/news/2011news/organic_awards.html

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