The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded the University of Maine in Orono nearly a million dollars as part of the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) program.

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The grant announced Tuesday is part of $21 million awarded across the country for research and outreach projects that will help growers, producers, and processors improve their organic operations’ success and ability to innovate.

The University of Maine will receive $999,120 from the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The UMO project will work to develop innovative sowing, cultivation and rotation strategies to address weed, fertility and disease challenges in organic food and feed grains.

OREI’s priorities include biological, physical, and social sciences, with an emphasis on research and outreach that assist farmers and ranchers with whole farm planning.

For more information about the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative, check out the NIFA website.