SARE Farmer Grants 2015

SARE Farmer Grants 2015

SARE Sustainable Ag Grants for Producers, Partnerships

August 6, 2015

The 2016 North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE) is accepting applications for its Farmer Rancher and Partnership grant programs.

Farmer-Rancher Grant Program

Farmers and ranchers in the North Central region are invited to submit grant proposals to explore sustainable agriculture solutions to problems on the farm or ranch.  Proposals should show how farmers and ranchers plan to use their own innovative ideas to explore sustainable agriculture options and how they will share project results. Sustainable agriculture is good for the environment, profitable, and socially responsible. Projects should emphasize research or education/demonstration.

"We have had a number of excellent grant recipients in the Farmer/Rancher Grant Program over the years," said Gary Lesoing, Nebraska State SARE Coordinator. Recent recipients include William and Crystal Powers (2015)  of Darby Springs Farm near Ceresco and Mike McDonald (2014) of Palmyra, part of a multi-farm grant to explore integration of cover crops into a farming operation.

The Farmer Rancher Grant Program offers three types of competitive grants:

  • individual grants ($7,500 maximum),
  • team of two grants for two farmers/ranchers from separate operations who are working together ($15,000 maximum), and
  • group grants for three or more farmers/ranchers from separate operations who are working together ($22,500 maximum). NCR-SARE expects to fund about 40 projects in the 12-state North Central Region; approximately $400,000 is available.

NCR-SARE will be accepting online submissions for the Farmer Rancher Grant Program. More information about the online submission system is in the Call for Proposals. The call, as well as useful information for completing a proposal, are available at

Proposals are due on December 3, 2015 at 4 p.m. CST.

Partnership Grant Program

NCR-SARE's Partnership Grant program is intended to foster cooperation between agriculture professionals and small groups of farmers and ranchers to catalyze on-farm research, demonstration, and education activities related to sustainable agriculture.

Individual grants are limited to $30,000. NCR-SARE expects to fund about eight of these projects in the 12-state North Central Region. Approximately $240,000 is available.

NCR-SARE will be accepting online submissions for the Partnership Grant Program. More information about the online submission system can be found in the Call for Proposals.  The deadline for Partnership Program proposals is October 29, 2015 at 4 p.m. CDT.

NCR-SARE administers each of its grant programs with specific priorities, audiences, and timelines. The focus for each of the NCR-SARE grant programs is on research and education. Funding considerations are made based on the relevance and potential of the project to increase the sustainability of agriculture in the region, as well as how well the applicant articulates the research and education components of their sustainable agriculture grant proposals.

Information and Assistance

Potential applicants with questions can contact Joan Benjamin, associate regional coordinator and Farmer Rancher Grant Program coordinator, at or 573-681-5545 or 800-529-1342. Applicants can also contact Benjamin for a hard copy or an email version of the call for proposals. The call for proposals is revised annually, making it crucial to access the most recent call.

Each state in SARE's North Central Region has one or more State Sustainable Agriculture Coordinators who can provide information and assistance to potential grant applicants. Lesoing, Nebraska Extension Educator in Nemaha County, is the coodinator in Nebraska. He can be contacted at or 402-274-4755.

To learn more about sustainable agriculture, visit or take a free National Continuing Education Program online course about the basic concepts at

The USDA SARE programs offers other grant programs for researchers and educators working in sustainable agriculture, including a youth educator program..  Visit the national SARE website or the North Central Region SARE site for more information. The North Central Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

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