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$1M in grants to bolster farm sustainability in West

More than $1 million in grants are available to help farmers, ranchers, and others in agriculture to study, demonstrate, and expand sustainable agricultural practices on their operations. The Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program is offering the USDA-funded grants. 

More than $1 million in grants are available to help farmers, ranchers, and others in agriculture to study, demonstrate, and expand sustainable agricultural practices on their operations.

The Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (Western SARE) is offering the grants, funded by USDA. To qualify for a grant, Rhonda Miller says western producers must be involved in the research or planning of the projects.

“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,” says Miller, Western SARE regional coordinator.

The two open programs are Western SARE’s Farmer/Rancher grants and the Professional + Producer Grants. Applications are due Dec. 7.

Farmer-Rancher grants are one- to-three-year grants for producer projects with support and guidance from technical advisors with about $325,000 total available, including up to $20,000 for individual awards for single producer projects, or $25,000 for projects with three or more producers.

Professional + Producer grants are similar, except an agricultural professional, such as a researcher or Cooperative Extension specialist, conducts the project and the producer serves as technical advisors. About $325,000 total is available in this category. Individual awards are up to $50,000.

Miller says, “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.

She encourages applicants with ideas to improve their farming and ranching operations to examine the grant programs and submit grant applications.

Another Western SARE grant program is for Professional Development Grants to train agricultural professionals to share knowledge about sustainable agriculture concepts and practices with others. More than $560,000 is available for up to three-year grants, limited to $75,000 per award.

The application deadline for this grant is Nov. 2.

Click this link for the descriptions of each program and links to the applications.

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The Western SARE Administrative Council will choose proposals considered which are innovative, diverse in content, based on subject matter and geography, and which demonstrate tangible outcomes and provide readily adaptable technologies and information suitable to the adoption of sustainable farming and ranching systems by western producers.

SARE is a USDA program which operates through competitive grants conducted cooperatively by farmers, ranchers, researchers, and agricultural professionals. SARE’s goal is to advance farm and ranch systems which are profitable, environmentally sound, and positive for local communities.

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