Lincoln University's Cooperative Extension and Research program has received four organic agriculture-oriented grants totaling $510,650.
The grants will address important crop production and protection challenges faced by small- and mid-scale organic farmers, the school said in a news release Tuesday.
Those farmers will benefit from research, through demonstrations and the dissemination of information about production strategies — especially for no-till cover crop-based systems, and on organic quinoa production.
The farmers will also receive information on using ecological approaches for the organic management of pests such as weeds, insects and diseases.
The projects are expected to make organic crop production more efficient and profitable.
In Tuesday's news release, LU's Cooperative Extension and Research office described the four grants as:
$474,141 from the USDA'S National Institute of Food and Agriculture Organic Research and Extension Initiative to Jaime Piero, state extension specialist — integrated pest management; Touria Eaton, state extension specialist — horticulture; Zelalem Mersha, state extension specialist — plant pathology; and their collaborators for "Scale-appropriate strategies: cover crop-based no-till systems for small vegetable farmers."
This is the first time LU has been awarded an OREI project and the second time the USDA has given the award to an 1890 land grant institution, LU Extension noted in its news release.
$14,806 by the Organic Research Farming Foundation to LU graduate student Justin Keay and Piero for "Developing a cover crop-based, no-till system for small-scale vegetable producers: effects on soil health, weeds, arthropod communities and yield."
$11,703 from the North Central Region — Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education's Graduate Student Grant program to Keay, with Piero serving as supervisor, for "Evaluation of early maturing cereal rye/hairy-vetch cover crop varieties, and their effects on subsequent cash crop planting date, maturity, and yield in an organic no-till summer squash production system."
$10,000 from Organic Valley Farmers Advocating for Organic, to Safiullah Pathan, assistant professor of crop science, for "Variety selection and production of organic quinoa across environments."