August 13, 2015
Editor’s Note — This is the latest in a series of periodic blog posts on the latest happenings in each of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) regions as they roll out project solicitations and announce grant awards.
The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education or SARE program is a farmer driven research and education competitive grants program designed to help advance sustainable agriculture across the whole of American agriculture. SARE is administered through four regional councils of producers, researchers, educators, and government representatives that set SARE policies and make grants:
SARE’s four regional offices administer three primary grant programs: 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 more details into what is going on in each SARE region!
North Central SARE News
The Partnership Grant Program is focused on connecting agricultural professional and farmers to conduct on-farm research. Individual grants can last up to 2 years and are limited to $30,000, with a total of approximately $240,000 available for this program. The deadline for Partnership Program proposals is October 29, 2015.
The Farmer Rancher Grant Program is aimed at producers who want to test a research idea on their farm or ranch. Projects typically involve on-farm research with crops or livestock, marketing and/or educational activities. Producers are expected to partner with an extension professional or other agricultural advisor, and share their results with others. Up to $7,500 is available for individual grants, $15,000 for two farmers/ranchers working together, and $22,500 for grants to larger groups of farmers and ranchers. Proposals are due on December 3, 2015, with awards expected in early spring 2016.
The Youth Educator Grant Program provides opportunities for youth in the North Central Region to learn more about sustainable agriculture and for educators to encourage young people and their parents to try sustainable practices and see sustainable agriculture as a viable career option. Youth Educator Grants can be funded at up to $2,000, with a total of $20,000 available for this program. Proposals are due by November 12, 2015.
The Research and Education Program supports sustainable agriculture innovators with competitive research and education grants. Research and Education Grants can be funded at up to $200,000 and last up to 3 years. This grant is focused on research, education, and outreach involving farmers and scientists in multiple professions such as economic and plant sciences. NSAC encourages farmers and organizations that work with farmers to consider applying, as for profit businesses are not excluded. The deadline for Research and Education Program pre-proposals is October 22, 2015.
Northeast SARE News
The deadline for Northeast SARE’s Partnership Grants is approaching; applications are due October 6, 2015 for awards in the spring. Partnership Grants from Northeast SARE can be multi-year in length and are capped at $15,000. These grants are focused on connecting agricultural professional and farmers to conduct on-farm research. The Partnership Grant guidelines have been expanded to add proposals that used to be submitted under the Sustainable Community Grant Program.
Application materials for Northeast SARE’s Farmer Grant Program are not posted currently, but continue to check back as the deadline is November 12, 2015. This program encourages sustainable agricultural production and marketing practices by providing up to $15,000 for farmer-run projects. Projects from last year addressed a range of topics, from evaluating the viability of apple and pear varieties in cold humid climates to using brewer’s spent grain for gourmet mushroom cultivation.
Southern SARE News
Southern SARE does not currently have any open calls for proposals. Check back for any new updates and calls for proposals this fall.
A recent press release by Southern SARE details research conducted using a Southern SARE-funded On-Farm Research grant. This project was done in Northern Florida and focused on integration of perennial peanuts into grass pastures. The integration of rhizoma peanuts into livestock production systems brought numerous benefits such as nitrogen fixation and improved cattle performance. Researchers are continuing to look into the use of a strip-planting approach to reduce establishment costs and use of grass strips for hay production during the establishment years.
Southern SARE also highlighted the results of the third annual cover crop survey of farmers around the country that confirm the benefits and expansion of cover crops on U.S. cropland. USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program recently released results of the 2014-2015 Cover Crop Survey, which assessed the benefits, challenges, and scale of adoption of cover crops, as well as demand for cover crop seed across the United States. NSAC also conducted its own analysis of the survey’s results.
Western SARE News
Upcoming deadlines for Western SARE include grant proposals for Professional Development Grants, Farmer Rancher Grants, and Professional + Producer Research and Education Grants.
The Professional Development Grant Program proposal period closes on October 28, with notification in March 2016. These grant projects focus on training agricultural professionals to further their knowledge on sustainable agriculture practices and topics with the goal of spreading this information to others in the field.
The Farmer/Rancher Research and Education Grant Program proposal period closes on December 2, with notification in March 2016. Funding ranges from up to $15,000 for single producer-proposals to $25,000 for proposals by three or more producers.
The Professional + Producer Grant proposal period also closes on December 2, with notification in March 2016. The program offers up to $50,000 in funding for an agricultural professional – including an extension coordinator, government agency field staff, or non-profit staff member – working with five producers on a sustainable agriculture research project.