Nov 4, 2022
OFRF and FFAR grant award for on-farm organic research

The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) and the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) announce its third award for the 2021/22 OFRF organic research grant cycle.

Christiana Huss of the University of Georgia, was awarded $19,977 to research  companion plants that reduce the destruction caused by invasive yellow-margined leaf beetle (Microtheca ochroloma) on leafy brassica greens across the Southeastern United States.

The yellow-margined leaf beetle is an invasive pest that threatens organic production of high value leafy brassica greens across the Southeast and beyond as winters become milder. This research will evaluate an innovative landscape ecology approach that involves a combination of repellant intercrops and attractant companion plants in a “push-pull” design for bio-control of the pest.

“Finding a suitable companion plant is an accessible approach for many farmers who wish to lessen their chemical inputs for pest control.” said Huss, principal investigator for the project. “We are thrilled to explore this technique and hope to find a solution!”

This project will leverage agricultural diversity to mitigate the destruction of the invasive M. ochroloma on brassica greens by testing potential intercrops’ ability to repel M. ochroloma. The project will then be assisted by ten organic farmers to trial the most successful combination of companion plants for managing M. ochroloma on their own farms

This year’s research grant program prioritized farmers, early career researchers and black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) applicants. The six projects chosen focus on climate mitigation and building on-farm resilience and have been awarded a grand total of $119,817 in funding. The 2021/22 cycle was made possible by a $66,000.00 grant from FFAR and matching funds from OFRF and its research partners.

To date, OFRF has invested over $3 million in 361 grants across North America to advance scientific knowledge and improve the ecological sustainability and economic prosperity of organic farming systems. All OFRF-funded research must involve farmers or ranchers in project design and implementation, take place on certified organic land, and include strong education and outreach components. All research results are available in OFRF’s online database.


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