Advancing Sustainable Ag
The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program was authorized as part of the 1985 Farm Bill and first funded in 1988.
For over 25 years the Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program (SARE) has worked towards a vision of an enduring American agriculture of the highest quality. This agriculture is profitable, protects the nation’s land, air and water, and is a rewarding way of life for farmers and ranchers whose quality products and operations sustain their communities and society. Therefore, SARE’s mission is to advance – to the whole of American agriculture – innovations that improve profitability, stewardship of our natural resources and quality of life by investing in critical research, education and outreach.
While advancing this vision and mission, SARE has developed a set of core values that include:
Diversity – geographical, biological and human – lies at the heart of an enduring, quality agriculture. SARE invests in approaches that are site-specific, promote a diversity of crops, livestock and landscapes, and include the full range of voices in decision-making.
Connections – that makes agriculture sustainable is the result of three mutually beneficial, interlocking goals: profitability, stewardship of the land, air and water, and quality of life for farmers, ranchers, and their communities. SARE invests in holistic approaches where crops and livestock are pursued as part of a greater system that includes natural and imposed landscape resources, communities, livelihoods and human well-being.
Innovation – born from rigorous scientific inquiry and farmers’ and ranchers’ on-the-ground experiences – is the key to lasting success in agriculture. SARE invests in the development of new, effective technologies, methods and communications that improve the quality of agriculture.
SOUTHERN SARE PROGRAM OBJECTIVE
From its inception, the objective of the SARE program is to enable the full spectrum of farmers and ranchers to move profitably toward production systems compatible with the concept of sustainable agriculture. Specific objectives include:
• Strengthen rural communities by creating economic conditions, including value-added products that foster locally owned business and employment opportunities.
The primary tools of the SARE program are grants, which are offered annually to farmers, researchers, educators, non-profits, community based organizations and community activists in the agricultural community. Grants are not the only tools, but grant funds are understood to be the chief lubricant in the development of new approaches and new ideas. SARE seeks out innovations in sustainable agriculture, and rewards grant applicants who offer up interesting, potentially workable ideas. The SARE program also emphasizes outreach and the dissemination of project results so that the grant program will have the widest possible benefit.
Southern SARE administers several grants, each with its own priorities and audiences. The application process always begins with the release of Calls for Proposals. Applicants are strongly encouraged to download and read the Call for Proposals before applying for a grant. All the rules and guidelines and everything you need to complete the application process and successfully submit your project can be found in the Call for Proposals. If after reading a call, you still have questions about whether that grant is best for your ideas, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Research & Education Grants -- Competitive research grants for teams of interdisciplinary researchers that encourage a systems approach in sustainable agriculture.
- Large Systems Research Grants -- Competitive research grants for teams of interdisciplinary researchers who already have successful agriculture systems research in place, but need support to accomplish additional long-term research goals.
- Graduate Student Grants -- Competitive research grants for full-time graduate students attending accredited universities in the Southern region who are interested in conducting sustainable agriculture research.
- Professional Development Program Grants -- A train-the-trainer grants program that provides or enables training activities to agricultural professionals in sustainable agriculture. Research projects and farmer outreach or education projects do not qualify for this funding.
- On-Farm Research Grants -- Competitive research grants for ag professionals who currently and regularly work with farmers and ranchers in areas of sustainable agriculture. On-Farm Research Grants are not open to farmers.
- Producer Grants -- Competitive research grants for individual farmers/ranchers or farmer/rancher groups interested in developing sustainable production and marketing practices. Producer Grants are not for beginning farmers, and cannot be used to pay a farmer to farm, start a farm, expand a farm, buy land, or make capital investments or farm improvements.
- Sustainable Community Innovation Grants -- Grants administered for the purpose of linking sustainable agriculture with healthy economic community development. Any person or organization with an idea that will link to sustainable ag activities to healthy community development is eligible to apply.
- James Harrison Hill, Sr. Young Scholar Enhancement Grant -- A grant program for existing Research & Education Grant recipients to engage pre-collegiate high school students and freshman/sophomore college students in sustainable agriculture research.
The overall purpose of the SSARE Research & Education program is to position us so that we can permeate agriculture everywhere with the most sustainable approaches available. Our goal is that sustainability principles be implemented by a majority of U.S. agriculture and that sustainability becomes the dominant paradigm for U.S. agriculture. This would result in food sustainably produced in healthy communities in an environment where farmers are respected, rewarded, and encouraged to innovate. We also seek partnerships with universities so that sustainable agriculture becomes the focus of their message.