The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program was authorized as part of the 1985 Farm Bill and first funded in 1988.
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:
• Promote good stewardship of the nation's natural resources by providing site specific and profitable sustainable farming and ranching methods that strengthen agricultural competitiveness; satisfy human food and fibre needs; maintain and enhance the quality and productivity of the soil; conserve soil, water, energy, natural resources, and fish and wildlife habitat; protect endangered species; and maintain and improve the quality of surface and groundwater;
• Protect the health and safety of persons involved in the food/farm system;
• Enhance the quality of life for farmers/ranchers and society as a whole, in part by increasing income and employment - especially profitable self-employment opportunities in agriculture and rural communities. Specifically, a major goal is to strengthen the family farm system of agriculture, a system characterized by small- and moderate-sized farms that are principally owner operated;
• Promote crop, livestock, and enterprise diversification and the well-being of animals, and;
• 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 innovation 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. NOTE: These grants are not currently being offered.