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SARE Roundup: News on Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education

October 27, 2017


SARE logoThe Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program funds farmer-driven research and education through a competitive grants program. SARE is the only competitive research grant program offered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that focuses solely on sustainable agriculture; the program been supporting research in this field for nearly 30 years. SARE is administered through four regional councils of producers, researchers, educators, and government representatives, which are responsible for setting SARE policies and grant making. Because each of the SARE councils houses its program information, requests for proposals, and other important information separately, NSAC provides a periodic aggregation of data from across the regions – the “SARE Roundup.”

Each one of SARE’s four regional offices administers three primary program components: Research and Education, Professional Development, and Producer Grants. Some regions also offer additional grants for community innovation, graduate student research, agricultural professionals conducting on-farm research, and region-specific initiatives. Read on for details about what is going on in your SARE region!

National SARE News

Our Farms, Our Future Conference

Mark your calendars for an important national sustainable agriculture event, the Our Farms, Our Future Conference, hosted by SARE and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA) on April 3-5, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri.

This national event will bring together a wide range of members of the agricultural community: farmers and ranchers, agricultural professionals, agribusiness stakeholders, students, researchers, scientists, agency representatives, and nonprofit leaders. Every decade, SARE hosts a conference to look at the progress of sustainability in agriculture, and to understand our trajectory for the future.

For more information, contact ourfarmsourfuture@sare.org or join the SARE Outreach mailing list to receive updates by email. Visit ofof.sare.org for registration and program information.

To find out about other SARE events, visit the SARE Event Calendar

SARE Outreach is Hiring a Technical Review Specialist

The specialist will serve as the program’s primary technical reviewer, responsible for evaluating all SARE Outreach-produced content for technical accuracy, validity and precision. See the full position description here.

SARE has announced the creation of an Organic Production Resource page on its website. The new topic room is a space with a wealth of information on subjects like pest management, transition to organic, marketing, and much more!

North Central SARE (NCR-SARE)

NCR-SARE Seeking Nominations for Administrative Council Members

NCR-SARE is seeking nominees for the following seats on its Administrative Council as follows: At-large representative of an agriculture college or university, Non-profit organization representative from a non-profit with demonstrable expertise on sustainable agriculture, or a representative of agribusiness. Representatives must come from within the 12-state region that comprises NCR-SARE’s Administrative Council represents various agricultural sectors, states and organizations. It sets program priorities and makes granting decisions for the region.

Call for Grant Proposals:

NCR-SARE has announced a call for 2018 Farmer Grant proposals. Farmer Grants fund projects by commercial producers who want to test innovative ideas in field trials, on-farm demonstrations, or market initiatives; a technical advisor must also be involved. The deadline for full proposals is December 7, 2017.

In addition to Farmer Grants, North Central SARE has announced a call for Graduate Student Grant proposals. Funds in the Graduate Student Grant Program are used to fund graduate student projects that address sustainable agriculture issues; projects range from berry and nut production to soil cover crops and pest management in brassicas. The deadline will be in May, 2018, with awards announced in August.

2017 Grant Highlights:

We are excited to highlight the projects of NSAC members in the North Central SARE region:

Professional Development Grants:

  • Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship: Enhancing the Quality of Work-based Beginning Farmer Training Programs Through Trainer Professional Development.

This project enhances the learning experience of aspiring and beginning farmers as they participate in Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship and other mentoring relationships by training farmer-trainers and other agricultural professionals on adult learning, coaching and mentoring best practices, and a technical curriculum on dairy farming.

  • GrassWorks Inc: Promoting Grazing as a Sustainable Farming Method to Agency Staff in Wisconsin

GrassWorks works at statewide and local levels with grazing coordinators and farmers to educate agency staff on effective ways to promote grazing to other farmers and develop county programs to continue that education. This project works with partnerships established through previous efforts to teach and promote grazing to farmers and county committees as a sustainable farming method and is the next step following our established soil health education programing and pasture walk toolkit.

Partnership Grants:

  • Center for Rural Affairs: Growing Together, Latino Farmer Learning Circles for Knowledge and Networks

This project empowers Latino farmers to overcome social and informational isolation. Participants receive support to start/expand environmentally and financially sound livestock operations and develop a peer and professional network for long-term support. A collaborative learning circle methodology provides peer learning, expert training, resource connections, and networking.

  • Michael Fields Agricultural Institute: Do Cover Crops Pay? Expanding a Learning Circle for Peer-to-Peer Cover Crop Promotion Using Economics as a Theme.

This project measures the impact of multiple cover crops on yields of subsequent crops and use partial budget analysis to evaluate the economic impact. Results will include an expansion of the Institute’s current learning circle for peer-to-peer education, dissemination and cover crop promotion, and ultimately increased knowledge and adoption of cover crops.

Upcoming NCR-SARE Events:

November 2: Farming with Beneficial Insects for Pest Control: Conservation Biocontrol Short Course

November 2-4: WFAN Annual Conference

November 6: Iowa High Tunnel Short Course

November 19-20: 17th Annual Iowa Organic Conference

Northeast SARE

Call for Grant Proposals:

Northeast SARE has announced a call for 2018 Farmer Grant proposalsFarmer Grants fund projects by commercial producers who want to test innovative ideas in field trials, on-farm demonstrations, or market initiatives; a technical advisor must also be involved. The deadline for 2018 Farmer Grant proposals is December 5, 2017.

The call for Graduate Student Grant proposals has also been announced. Funds in the Graduate Student Grant Program are used to fund graduate student projects that address sustainable agriculture issues; projects range from water quality analysis, soil health, cover crops, and pest management in brassicas. The deadline for 2018 Graduate Student Grant proposals will be in May, 2018, with awards announced in August.

2017 Grant Highlights

Northeast SARE funded 72 projects, totaling $1,653,370, during 2017. Projects were funded in every Northeast state – see the full list, by state. We are pleased to highlight the project of one of our members.

Partnership Grants:

  • Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture: Community Benchmarks for Productivity and Profitability for Diversified Pastured Livestock Farmers. 

Upcoming Northeast SARE Events

November 8-9: Cover Crops Council Meeting

November 30: Conservation Biocontrol Course

Southern SARE (SSARE)

Nominations for Southern SARE Administrative Council Producer Member Requested

The Administrative Council of SSARE is seeking nominations of a producer experienced with sustainable agriculture and its impact on the environment and rural communities to replace an outgoing Administrative Council member. Nomination deadline is Dec. 22, 2017. The deadline for a person to complete the SSARE On-Line Application is Jan. 12, 2018.

Call for Grant Proposals:

On-Farm Research Grants: Agriculture professionals in Cooperative Extension, Natural Resources Conservation Service, universities, NGOs, and government and non-government organizations who regularly work with farmers and/or ranchers are eligible to apply for a grant that affords them the opportunity to conduct on-farm research in sustainable agriculture. The proposal deadline is 5 p.m. EST, Nov. 17, 2017.

Producer Grant Proposals: Producer Grants are used to conduct sustainable agriculture research projects that solve agricultural production challenges farmers face and to develop information on what works and what doesn’t so that other farmers and ranchers facing those same challenges can benefit from the results of the funded project. The proposal deadline is 5 p.m. EST on Nov. 17, 2017.

SSARE has also announced the funded projects for the 2017 Graduate Student Grants program. Check them out here.

2017 Grant Highlights:

NSAC member awards include:

  • Delta Land and Community in Arkansas: Validating Sustainability/Resilience and Quality of Life Indices to Identify Farm-and Community-level Needs and Research and Education.
  • NCAT: Beyond Fresh: Expanding Markets for Sustainable Value-added Food Products in Texas.

Upcoming SSARE Events:

Oct 31: LSU AgCenter MarketReady Producer Training

November 2-3: Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education Food, Ag and Equity Conference

November 3-4: National Black Farmers Conference

Nov 10-12: Black Urban Growers Conference, Atlanta GA

November 14-16: Value Added Conference

November 14-15: Preventive Control Qualified Individual

November 15: High Tunnel Production

November 16-17: Alabama Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association Conference

November 16- VSU Field Day

Western SARE

En Español

Información sobre los programas y subsidios de Western SARE ahora hay en Español. Aprenda de oportunidades de financiar su proyecto, como aplicar para un subsidio de Western SARE y descubre de prácticas innovadoras en la agricultura sustentable. 

Call for Grant Proposals:

Western SARE has announced its call for Professional Development Program Grant proposals. Professional Development Program (PDP) Grants are aimed at helping Cooperative Extension Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service and other agricultural professionals in the Western Region increase their understanding and proficiency in sustainable agriculture. The deadline for proposals is November 1, 2017, noon MDT.

Graduate Student application period is also open. The deadline for proposals is January 12, 2018, 2:00 MST.

In addition, Western SARE has announced its call for Farmer/Rancher Grant Proposals. With a Farmer/Rancher Research & Education Grant, a producer, working with a technical advisor, develops a proposal to conduct research and education (outreach) on a sustainable agriculture topic. The deadline for proposal submissions is December 6, 2017, 1:00 MST.

Application period for Professional + Producer Grants is open. This grant involves an agricultural professional and five (5) producers working together to develop a proposal to conduct both research and education on a sustainable agricultural topic. The deadline for proposals is December 6, 2017, 1:00 MST.

2017 Grant Highlights:

NSAC is proud to highlight the work of its member groups who received Western SARE grants:

Professional Development Grants:

  • NCAT: Integrated Parasite Management: Train the Trainer

NCAT collaborates with Montana State University Sheep Extension to conduct regional Integrative Parasite Management trainings in Montana, Wyoming, and Utah. In this training, county extension agents, veterinarians, and NRCS staff learn the potential risks associated with rising internal parasite infection rates in western sheep flocks and the proven IPM methodologies to combat these parasites.

Professional + Producer Grants:

  • Alternative Energy Resources Organization (AERO): Montana Food Economy Initiative

AERO’s on-the-ground research called for statewide coordination to grow regional food systems by facilitating planning, networking, and collaboration in regional food systems. 

Upcoming Events:

November 4-5: Putting Down Roots

November 13-15: Sustainable Ag Expo

November 14-16: Grasslands Conference 2017


Categories: General Interest, Grants and Programs, Research, Education & Extension


One response to “SARE Roundup: News on Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education”

  1. Robert Ebong says:

    Would like to be in touch with you in the area of cooperative extension and organic farming.l

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