March 27, 2018
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.
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.
USDA’s Rural Business Service administers the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP offers two types of assistance:
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.
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:
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, 2018. blogAdditional 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 (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.