NSAC's Blog


Spring 2018 RFA Roundup: Deadlines for Funding Opportunities

March 27, 2018


Farmer and Extension Agent on farm. Photo credit: KY State University.

Farmer and Extension Agent on farm. Photo credit: KY State University.

As part of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s (NSAC) ongoing efforts to help farmers and advocates stay up to date with federal policy and funding opportunities, we have provided a detailed list of open Request for Applications (RFA) that may be of interest to the sustainable agriculture community.

For more information on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant programs, see NSAC’s Grassroots Guide to Federal Food and Farm Programs.

The following open RFAs are listed by deadline.

Conservation Stewardship Program Renewals

Deadline: April 13, 2018

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), which is administered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), provides financial and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers to help them implement new, and actively manage existing conservation systems on land in production (also known as “working lands”). Through CSP, participants can receive financial and technical assistance to help them improve the soil, water, air, and habitat quality on their lands; they can also use CSP to address water quantity and energy conservation issues. Current contract holders who originally enrolled in CSP in 2014 and want to renew will need to fill out the Conservation Program Application (CPA) 1200 (the same form used for new applications) as well as CPA 1248 (CSP Renewal Offer Worksheet). More information on CSP renewals can be found via NSAC’s blog.

Rural Energy for America Program

Deadline: Variable 

USDA’s Rural Business Service administers the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP offers two types of assistance:

  1. Grants and loans to farmers and rural businesses seeking to make energy efficiency improvements and/or purchase renewable energy systems
  2. Grants to help farmers with energy audits and renewable energy development.

For farms or small businesses seeking renewable energy or energy efficiency improvement grants, for which the requested amount is less than $20,000, applications are due by 4:30 pm on April 30, 2018. Applicants who submitted applications by the previous deadline of October 31, 2017 do not need to reapply. For larger grants or for requests for a combination of a grant and a guaranteed loan, the deadline is also 4:30 pm on April 30, 2018.

For farms and small businesses seeking a federal guarantee of a private loan (but no grant), there is a rolling deadline during which eligible applications will be reviewed and processed when received for periodic competitions.

More information on how to apply can be found on USDA’s website and on our recent blog post here.

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education

Deadline: Variable

The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program is a competitive grant-making program that advances sustainable agriculture through farmer-driven research. Successful SARE grantees are producers, researchers, nonprofit organizations, and educators engaged in projects that address the “three Ps” of sustainability: profit over the long term; protection of the land and water; and people (communities) who depend on agriculture.

SARE is administered through USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and is run by four regional councils that set SARE policy and make grants. Currently SARE regions are accepting applications for their Graduate Student Grant program; RFA deadlines vary by region, and are listed below:

  • North Central Region will be accepting proposals using their online submission system until 4 p.m. CDT, April 12, 2018.
  • Southern Region is accepting proposals until May 4, 2018 at 5 p.m. EST. Click through to download the Call for Proposals and read the proposal application instructions.
  • Northeast Region grants can be submitted online until May 8, 2018.

Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program

Deadline: May 7, 2018

The Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) provides grants on a competitive basis for a wide spectrum of direct-to-consumer and local food marketing projects. FMLFPP and its predecessor program, the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP), are programs that NSAC has championed for over a decade. FMLFPP is administered as two subprograms: FMPP and the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP). The FMPP subprogram supports projects that have more of a direct farmer-to-consumer focus, such as: farmers markets, CSA (community supported agriculture) programs, roadside stands, pick-your own operations, and agritourism. In contrast, LFPP’s focus is on the farm to fork pipeline. LFPP supports projects including, but not limited to: processing, distribution, aggregation, and storage and marketing of locally or regionally produced food products sold through intermediated marketing channels.

Applications for both FMPP and LFPP must be submitted electronically via http://www.grants.gov/ by 11:59 p.m. EST on May 7, 2018blogAdditional information on local and regional food system grant opportunities can be found on NSAC’s .

Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program

Deadline: May 15, 2018

Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the “Section 2501 program”) is administered by USDA and supports competitively funded grant projects to help academic institutions, community-based organizations, nonprofits, and tribal entities provide critical resources, outreach, and technical assistance to historically underserved producers. The purpose of the 2501 program is to ensure that farmers of color and military veteran farmers have equitable opportunities to successfully acquire and maintain successful farm businesses, and to access USDA support and programs. Section 2501 supports a range of outreach and assistance activities, including: farm management, financial management, marketing, and application and bidding procedures.

All applications must be submitted via grants.gov by 11:59 pm EST on May 15, 2018hereMore information on the Section 2501 Program RFA can be found .


Categories: Beginning and Minority Farmers, Conservation, Energy & Environment, Grants and Programs, Research, Education & Extension


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