Growers, ranchers, and agricultural professionals in the West are eligible to apply for a share of more than $1 million in available grants to study, demonstrate, and improve sustainable agricultural practices on their land.
The grants are being offered by the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, known as Western SARE. The program is funded by USDA to improve sustainable agricultural practices in the U.S., and is unique among federal agriculture programs.
“What makes SARE grants different is our requirement that producers – the West’s farmers and ranchers – be directly involved in the research or planning of our projects,” explained Dr. Rhonda Miller, the Western SARE Regional Coordinator. “Two of the grant programs open right now are directly focused on on-farm research, and are great opportunities for producers to team up with university researchers, Extension specialists, and other agricultural professionals and test new ways to enhance their sustainable ag practices.”
Those two open programs are Western SARE’s Farmer/Rancher Grants and the Professional + Producer Grants. Applications for both are due Dec. 7.
Farmer/Rancher grants are one- to three-year grants for projects conducted by producers with support and guidance from technical advisors. There is approximately $325,000 available, and individual awards are up to $20,000 for a project by a single producer, or $25,000 for a project involving three or more producers.
Professional + Producer grants are similar, except that an agricultural professional such as a researcher or Extension specialist conducts the project and producers serve as the technical advisors. There is also approximately $325,000 available in this grant category, and individual awards are capped at $50,000.
“Both the Farmer/Rancher and Professional + Producer grants have produced outstanding research in soil, water, and other conservation practices that are keeping agricultural production sustainable in the West’s challenging conditions,” Miller said. “We strongly encourage new applicants who have ideas on improving their farming and ranching practices to take a look at these programs and submit grant applications.”
The other open Western SARE grant program is for Professional Development Grants that focus on training agricultural professionals to help them spread knowledge about sustainable agriculture concepts and practices to others. More than $560,000 is available. These are up to three-year grants, and limited to $75,000 per award. Applications are due Nov. 2.
Descriptions of each program and links to the applications can be found at westernsare.org/Grants/Types-of-Grants.