As you harvest your crops and are thinking of new and innovative ways to reduce inputs while increasing profits, consider putting those ideas into a grant proposal to North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE). NCR-SARE offers farmers and ranchers opportunities to experiment and try sustainable practices on their farms. NCR-SARE has a grant program with approximately $400,000 available this year for these farmer ideas. A farmer/rancher has up to 25 months to complete their projects.
There are 12 states that make up NCR-SARE. Farmer/ranchers from this region can write grants to support and implement their sustainable projects. There are three types of competitive grants:
- Individual grants ($7,500 maximum).
- Partner grants for two farmers/ranchers from separate operations who are working together ($15,000 maximum).
- Group grants for three or more farmers/ranchers from separate operations who are working together ($22,500 maximum).
Projects must be completed in 25 months. Farmer Rancher Grants provide opportunities for farmers/ranchers to use sustainable agriculture practices and their own innovative ideas to solve problems on the farm or ranch and to share their ideas.
Sustainable agriculture is farming and ranching that is ecologically sound, profitable and socially responsible. Sustainable agriculture practices may include, but are not limited to:
- Integrated pest management (IPM).
- Rotational grazing (e.g., management grazing and mob grazing).
- Soil erosion control.
- Soil quality improvement.
- Water quality improvement and wetlands.
- Cover crops.
- Crop and landscape diversity.
- Nutrient management.
- Value-added and direct marketing.
- Wildlife preservation
- Beneficial insects.
- Poultry and small-scale livestock production.
- Holistic and systems approaches to farming and ranching.
- Organic agriculture.
- Proactive weed control (e.g., interseeded cover crops, crop rotations, planting row crops in warm soils).
To qualify for a partner project, there must be two farmer/rancher participants from separate operations. To qualify for a group project, there must be at least three farmer/rancher participants from separate operations. Partners and groups must designate a farmer/rancher project leader who will submit and sign the proposal, be responsible for reporting, and assume tax liability associated with the grant, if there is any. Talk with a tax consultant if you have questions.
Grant recipients may participate in one individual grant and one partner or group grant annually. Previous farmer/rancher grant recipients are eligible to apply if reports from previous grant projects are up to date. Proposals from previous grant recipients will be evaluated on a competitive basis with all other proposals. To see farmer/rancher grants that have been funded in the past, go to www.sare.org, put your cursor over the “Project Reports” until a drop-down menu shows, then click on “Search the database.”
You cannot delay; these grants are due December 2, 2011. Details on how to apply for the Farmer Rancher Grants can be found on the NCR-SARE website. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and on the right side under “Open Call for Proposals” click on “2011 NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher Grant Call for Proposals.”