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RFA Roundup: Deadline Reminders and New Funding Opportunities

July 6, 2017


Alabama farmers and NSAC 2017 farmer fly-in participants Rockiell “Rock” Woods and John Coleman, both of whom have worked with and advocate for the Section 2501 Program.

Many program application deadlines are quickly approaching, so if you are a farmer, rancher, non-profit organization, university or other eligible entity and are interested in securing some federal support, make sure you get your application in on time! As part of our ongoing efforts to help farmers and advocates stay up to date with federal Requests For Application (RFA) notices, we have provided a list and detailed descriptions of upcoming RFAs that may be of interest to the sustainable agriculture community.

US Department of Agriculture (USDA) grants are available for a variety of projects and purposes, including: beginning and socially disadvantaged farmer engagement; risk management; renewable energy implementation; and farm to school projects. We at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) hope that this list will be a useful reference guide for all those looking for grant assistance.

For more detailed information on these and other USDA grant programs, see NSAC’s free resource, the Grassroots Guide to Federal Food and Farm Programs. Open RFAs are listed below:

USDA Risk Management Education and Training, Deadline July 10, 5pm EST:

USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) has made $8.85 million available nationwide for organizations that provide risk-management training and education. The full RFA is available on www.grants.gov. To be considered, applications must be submitted via http://rvs.umn.edu. Available funding for this year’s partnership application includes $4.85 million for the Crop Insurance in Targeted States Program and $4 million for the Risk Management Education Partnerships Program.

  • Crop Insurance in Targeted States Program: For crop insurance programs where there is a low level of federal crop insurance participation and availability. Targeted states include: Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.
  • Risk Management Education Partnerships Program: Provides funding for the development of general nationwide crop insurance education in addition to other risk management training programs for producers.

Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the “Section 2501” program), Deadline August 7, 11:59pm ET:

The 2501 program is the only USDA farm bill program that specifically addresses the needs of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. USDA’s Office of Advocacy and Outreach (OAO) administers the program, which provides grants to organizations that work with minority and veteran farmers. This year, $8.4 million in funding will be made available for 2501 projects. Grant projects can receive a maximum of $200,000 and are limited to one year. Applicants can propose a multi-year initiative, but it will only be funded one year at a time and must re-compete for funding in subsequent funding cycles.

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Competitive Grants Program, Deadlines vary by program area:

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) administers the AFRI grant program. This year, NIFA is awarding $150 million to projects that support research, extension and education related to agricultural and food systems research. The funding for this year’s AFRI Foundational Program RFA is $50 million more than last year; this additional funding will allow NIFA to support a higher percentage of eligible research projects, as well as a more diverse range of research topics.

The fiscal year (FY) 2017 AFRI RFA outlines several key focus areas for potential grant recipients. The following focus areas are highlighted, as they have upcoming deadlines for application. USDA may provide awards of up to $500,000 per project for projects that are up to 5 years in length.

  • “Plant Breeding for Agricultural Production,” Deadline July 19, 5pm EST: This priority looks for projects that support breeding efforts to improve crop productivity, efficiency, quality, performance and/or local adaptation. Applications must address one or more of the following:
      • Pre-breeding and germplasm enhancement;
      • Cultivar development;
      • Selection theory;
      • Applied quantitative genetics; and/or
      • Participatory breeding.
  • “Economics, Market and Trade,” Deadline, July 6, 5pm EST: This priority focuses on the application of economics in the areas of:
      • Agricultural market structure and performance;
      • International trade;
      • Agricultural production and resource use;
      • Consumer behavior;
      • Farm labor and immigration and policy;
      • Agricultural policy design and impacts;
      • Technology development and adoption; and
      • Science and innovation policy.
  • “Small and Medium-sized Farms,” Deadline July 28, 5pm EST: This priority seeks proposals for projects working to increase the ability of small and medium-sized farms to succeed in an increasingly competitive market. Proposal topics can be related to a variety of challenges, such as:
      • Effective strategies to meet the need of socially disadvantaged and small producers;
      • Outreach efforts that create opportunities for veterans to enter farming;
      • New tools for the next generation of small and medium-sized farmers;
      • Feasibility of small to mid-scale processing (including fresh/frozen fruits and vegetables, and small scale meat processing); or
      • Effective marketing strategies by small and medium-sized farms (including for production contracts and local/regional markets).
  • “Innovation for Rural Entrepreneurs,” Deadline July 27, 5pm EST: This priority area focuses on evaluating the institutional, social, or economic factors affecting decision making and policy development to enhance the growth and well-being of rural communities. This year, the program area priority has a new focus on challenges faced specifically by women and minorities in the field. In addition, the program calls for projects that look at:
      • Expanding local and regional food systems;
      • Factors that contribute to high rates of child poverty, especially in rural communities; or
      • Income inequality and how/why it varies among rural communities.
  • Other AFRI RFA Opportunities
    • Resilient Agro-ecosystems in a Changing Climate,” Deadline July 13, 5pm EST: In addition to the foundational RFA, AFRI released another RFA seeking projects directly related to “Resilient Agro-ecosystems in a Changing Climate.” Total funding for this RFA is $6.3 million. Project proposals must be $1.2 million or less per project, with a life cycle of no more than two years. This challenge area RFA seeks proposals for projects that assess:
      • The impacts of climate variability on the biophysical and biogeochemical components of food and/or fiber systems in terms of: water quantity and quality, food quality and safety, flood control, soil retention and productivity, microbial communities, nutrient cycling, pest management, pollinator health, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration;
      • Potential adaptation and mitigation strategies that can make food and/or fiber production more resilient and sustainable in increasingly variable climatic conditions; or
      • The drivers, effects, vulnerabilities, or resiliencies of the socio-economic system relative to sustainability of agricultural production in the context of climate variability.  

Categories: Beginning and Minority Farmers, Conservation, Energy & Environment, Grants and Programs, Local & Regional Food Systems, Marketing and Labeling, Research, Education & Extension, Rural Development


One response to “RFA Roundup: Deadline Reminders and New Funding Opportunities”

  1. I would love to have help with a grant for the area of Small to medium size farms, especially with fig production and on outreach (workshops and strategies)to help with veterans entering farming at my 28 year old certified organic farm. Strategy located between Univ. of Texas and Texas State Univ. but no help from either.

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