New Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program Seeks Grant Proposals
September 5, 2011 | Andrew Burger
The four regional Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE) centers are accepting grant proposals that aim to further advance research into and the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices in the US. To be awarded in early 2012, the grants will be evaluated on a competitive basis as part of a new, $10 million Federal-State Matching Grant SARE Program that was created as part of the federal government’s 2012 proposed fiscal year budget.
Grant proposals spanning five categories of sustainable agriculture research and education are eligible for funding through the new program:
- Research and Education Grants to be awarded to multi-disciplinary teams of researchers, producers, educators and others exploring sustainable agriculture
- Farmer Rancher Grants that will be awarded to farmers and ranchers for on-site projects in sustainable agriculture
- Professional Development Program Grants awarded for educational programs in sustainable agriculture practices and concepts for Extension, NRCS and other agricultural professionals
- Graduate Student Program Grants to be awarded to graduate students studying sustainable agriculture in the North Central Region
- Youth and Youth Educator Grants, part of the Farmer Rancher Grant Program, are to provide opportunities for youth and youth educators to learn more about sustainable agriculture
A total budget of $30 million has been proposed for SARE in fiscal 2012. (LINK: http://www.obpa.usda.gov/budsum/FY11budsum.pdf). In addition to $10 million to fund the new federal-state matching grant program, an additional $0.76 million has been requested “to support research and extension that will improve soil quality and carbon sequestration, save energy and mitigate climate change as well as provide education and training for Cooperative Extension, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and other agriculture professionals.”
SARE is a federal-state government program managed by the US Dept. of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) in partnership with regional and state coordinators nationwide. With a stated aim of advancing agricultural innovations that improve profitability, environmental stewardship and quality of life, some 12,300 farmers and ranchers “gained an economic, environmental or quality-of-life benefit from a change in practice learned by participating in a SARE project” in 2011, according to the organization (1.9 MB).