Ranchers and farmers who want to experiment with a new project or idea to become more productive or profitable have an avenue to do so, said David Fernandez, Cooperative Extension Program livestock specialist at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering ranchers and farmers grants up to $10,000 through its Southern SARE’s Producer Grant program (http://www.southernsare.org/). Producer organizations such as local, regional or state livestock or breed associations can receive up to $15,000.
“But, the deadline is fast approaching,” he said. “Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2014, 11:59 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, is the absolute deadline.”
The purpose of the grant program “is for farmers/ranchers to conduct projects to solve challenges and problems they face and develop information on what works and what doesn’t so farmers and ranchers facing the same problems can benefit from the results,” Fernandez said.
The most successful projects include cooperators such as other farmers and farmer groups, Extension agents or specialists, universities or government entities such as departments of agriculture. This is primarily because they have clear achievable goals within the proposed time frame. They clearly state how they will spread the word of their results, says Dr. Fernandez.
Before applying, check the SARE project database to be sure your idea hasn’t already been funded. SARE is unlikely to fund repeat projects. Talk to an agriculture professional. Usually, your Extension agent or specialist can help you design a project that is more likely to be funded that if you go it alone, he said.
The main reason proposals do not get funded is that the applicant did not follow instructions. Someone reviews and ranks all the proposals submitted each year. Reviewers are volunteers. If it is hard for the reviewer to find information in your grant proposal because you did not follow directions, the reviewer will not place a high priority on the proposal.
Southern SARE provides tips on writing a successful proposal on its website. So, if you have always wanted to try a new practice or wondered why there’s no research on your particular problem, here’s your chance to do so, Fernandez said.
For more information on this or other livestock related issues, contact Dr. Fernandez at firstname.lastname@example.org or (870) 575-7214.
The Cooperative Extension Program offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.