By Katie Brandt
Sustainable farmers, educators and farm researchers can now apply for four grant programs funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE). SARE Farmer Rancher Grants fund farmers who want to trial sustainable farming techniques and/or share practices with other producers. Although most grants require non-profit status, SARE grants can fund farms or individuals up to $15,000 for one farm or $30,000 for two or more farms to design and lead research, demonstration and education projects in sustainable farm practices.
SARE grants available in Michigan
- Farmer Rancher Grants – Up to $15,000 for one farm or $30,000 for two or more farms to design and lead research, demonstration and education projects in sustainable farm practices. (Due Dec. 7, 2023)
- Research and Education Grants – $10,000 to $250,000 for on-farm research, farmer education and other projects that explore and promote environmentally sound, profitable and socially responsible food and/or fiber systems. (Pre-proposals due Oct. 5, 2023)
- Partnership Grants – Up to $50,000 for farm educators and agriculture professionals to collaborate with three or more farmers to research, demonstrate, educate or collaborate on issues important to sustainable farming. (Due Oct. 19, 2023)
- Youth Educator Grants – Up to $6,000 for projects that teach youth about sustainable agriculture and careers in sustainable agriculture. (Due Nov. 9, 2023)
- Michigan SARE Mini-Grant – Up to $1,500 to organize a conference or workshop addressing environmental, social and financial sustainability for Michigan or regional farmers and educators. (Apply year-round)
- Michigan SARE Farmer Forum – $6,000 to host and record an event featuring SARE grantees. Email Sarah Fronczak at email@example.com for more information on this funding that is available for one Michigan conference per year. (Apply year-round)
- Michigan SARE Travel Scholarship – $500 for sustainable farmers, agriculture educators, farm advisors and technical assistance providers to attend conferences, workshops or other professional development with a focus on sustainable agriculture topics. (Apply year-round)
Two NCR-SARE grants will release calls for proposals in February:
- Professional Development Grants – Up to $120,000 for training agricultural educators, using farmers as educators and addressing emerging issues in the farm community. (Not open for proposals, typically due in April.)
- Graduate Student Grants – Up to $15,000 for masters’ and PhD students at accredited colleges and universities to address sustainable agriculture issues in the North Central Region. (Not open for proposals, typically due in April.)
Michigan SARE Coordinator Sarah Fronczak, Tribal SARE Coordinator Emily Proctor and Katie Brandt from the MSU Organic Farmer Training Program are glad to advise applicants, review proposals and support farmers, educators and students applying for NCR-SARE grants. Grant-writing support is available free of charge for all six North Central SARE grants and for Michigan SARE mini-grants. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com with questions, to have a proposal reviewed or to set up a time to discuss your proposal idea. Tribal members and communities are encouraged to reach out to Emily Proctor at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance with SARE proposals.
SARE has distributed over $9 million to fund 313 grant projects in Michigan since 1988. Just in 2023, $1,318,142 in new funding is funding 17 Michigan research and education projects.
SARE is a USDA program that shares numerous resources for farmers and agriculture educators including books, bulletins, videos and more. For more information about SARE grants and resources, visit the Michigan SARE or National SARE websites. The program aims to support an inclusive mix of farmers and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program or political beliefs. Source : msu.edu