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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: HEADQUARTERS COOPERATIVE PROGRAMS - NATURAL RESOURCES AND SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURAL SYSTEMS (NR&SAS) Title: Organic Research Activities of the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service

Author
item Smith, Matt

Submitted to: Crop Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 29, 2012
Publication Date: April 29, 2013
Citation: Smith, M.C. 2013. Organic Research Activities of the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. Crop Management. doi:10.1094/CM-2013-0429-05-PS.

Interpretive Summary: Organic research is a vital and ongoing part of the overall ARS research portfolio and occurs at approximately 20 % of ARS research locations across the United States. The vision for ARS organic agriculture research is to help the organic industry overcome the challenges it faces related to productivity, profitability, environmental stewardship, and energy efficiency. ARS’s organic research is an interdisciplinary research approach to understand the biological and physical processes innate to plants, soils, invertebrates, and microbes that naturally regulate pest problems and soil fertility so as to not rely on the use of synthetic pesticide and fertilizer production inputs. The agency’s scientists are mainly seeking strategies to prevent the problems faced by organic growers and then, secondarily, looking for therapeutic controls that they can use. From a practical standpoint, this whole-system approach also describes a large part of ARS’s research to improve conventional agriculture. Many of the results and lessons learned from conventional ARS research can be readily applied to organic farming systems, and vice versa. The objective of ARS organic agriculture research is to help producers compete effectively in the marketplace by producing abundant amounts of high-quality and safe products to meet consumer demands. A few illustrative examples of the types of organic research activities being performed by ARS scientists are presented.

Technical Abstract: Organic research is a vital and ongoing part of the overall ARS research portfolio and occurs at approximately 20 % of ARS research locations across the United States. The vision for ARS organic agriculture research is to help the organic industry overcome the challenges it faces related to productivity, profitability, environmental stewardship, and energy efficiency. ARS’s organic research is an interdisciplinary research approach to understand the biological and physical processes innate to plants, soils, invertebrates, and microbes that naturally regulate pest problems and soil fertility so as to not rely on the use of synthetic pesticide and fertilizer production inputs. The agency’s scientists are mainly seeking strategies to prevent the problems faced by organic growers and then, secondarily, looking for therapeutic controls that they can use. From a practical standpoint, this whole-system approach also describes a large part of ARS’s research to improve conventional agriculture. Many of the results and lessons learned from conventional ARS research can be readily applied to organic farming systems, and vice versa. The objective of ARS organic agriculture research is to help producers compete effectively in the marketplace by producing abundant amounts of high-quality and safe products to meet consumer demands. A few illustrative examples of the types of organic research activities being performed by ARS scientists are presented.

Last Modified: 12/19/2014
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