ATTENTION: Follow the rules and instructions found in the Call for Proposals to apply for a Producer Grant. Producer Grants are for research, education and outreach purposes only. They are not for beginning farmers nor are they intended to pay a farmer to farm, start a farm, buy land, or make capital investments or farm improvements. They are designed to take some of the financial risk away from trying a sustainable ag solution to a current farm issue. If you are interested in implementing sustainable agriculture techniques on your farm, you may be eligible for one of our grants. Read on!
From its inception, the efforts of the SARE program have gone to ultimately benefit the farmer, whether university scientists conduct research, or nonprofit organizations lead training workshops. The implementation of sustainable agriculture practices focuses on farmer profitability, responsible use of the land, and community quality of life.
Recognizing the value and importance of on-the-farm, producer experience in developing solutions to agricultural production challenges, the SSARE Producer Grant Program was established in 1994 to give farmers the opportunity to conduct their own research projects. The competitive grants program is intended to help farmers and ranchers develop sustainable production and marketing practices. Both individual farmers and ranchers, and farmer groups, like cooperatives, are invited to submit a Producer Grant application. The goal of the grant program is for farmers/ranchers to conduct projects to solve challenges and problems they face and develop information on what works and doesn’t work so that other farmers and ranchers facing those same problems can benefit from the results of the funded project.
The SSARE Producer Grant application process is straightforward, with simple submission instructions within the Call for Proposal to help guide farmers who may not be familiar with the grant-writing process. In addition, there are no specific farmer or farm restrictions to applying for a SARE Producer Grant.
Since 1994, SSARE has awarded 294 Producer Grants, totaling more than $2.4.
Who can apply for a Producer Grant?
Any farmer/rancher, or farmer organization in the Southern region is eligible to apply for a Producer Grant. They may only submit one proposal in a grant cycle.
How much will the grants fund?
Project maximums are $10,000 for an individual farmer or rancher and $15,000 for a farmer organization for up to two years of research. SSARE funds about 8 Producer Grant proposals each year.
What can Producer Grant Funds be used for?
Producer Grant funds may be used for the following purposes:
- Costs of sampling and sample analysis,
- Materials and supplies needed for the project.
- Outreach expenses such as holding a field day,
- Travel needed for the project,
- Hired labor for things that you can’t do yourself,
- Your labor, for project activities above and beyond your normal farming duties,
- Refreshments at field days, e.g. coffee, cold drinks, fruit, pie, cookies, etc.
Are there things that Producer Grant funds can't be used for?
Producer Grant funds may NOT be used for the following purposes:
- Buying equipment.
- Starting or expanding a farm or farming operation,
- Permanent improvements to a farm or ranch, e.g. planting an orchard, buying a herd, bee hives, bees or buying animals.
- Installing permanent fencing, permanent greenhouses, high tunnels, water containment tanks, irrigation pipe & pumps, building a pond or constructing a building,
- Lunches or other full meals at field days or large gatherings,
- Testing of commercial products.
What else should I know about Producer Grants?
- Producer grants are for research, education and outreach purposes only. They are not for beginning farmers nor are they intended to pay a farmer to farm, start a farm, buy land, or make capital investments or farm improvements. They are designed to take some of the financial risk away from trying a sustainable ag solution to a current farm issue.
- Producer Grants are competitive grants. A farmer/rancher competes against other farmer/ranchers from across the South.
- Projects must be developed, coordinated and conducted by farmers and/or ranchers, or a producer organization. Producer organizations should be comprised primarily of farmers/ranchers and must have majority farmer representation on their governing board.
- Successful proposals include clear goals and objectives, project cooperators, outreach plans; all related to sustainable agriculture practices.
- Projects should be innovative, generate results that are useful beyond one year, and produce information that many farmers can use.
Before you apply
Southern SARE Producer Grants are competitive. Each year we receive more grants than we have monies to award funding. Here are some suggestions that will aid in you submitting a top-notch proposal.
- Do your homework! You may have a great idea for a project, but the research related to the topic may already be well established. Remember, we look for projects that are new, innovative, generate results that are useful beyond one year and produce information that many farmers can use. You can search our Projects Database as a research tool for funded sustainable ag topics and where your project may fit.
- You may want to discuss your project with your local Extension agent or one of our state ag coordinators for your state before applying for a grant. Generally, he or she can assist you or give you advice on how to improve or fill gaps in your sustainable ag project.
- Collaborate with Extension agents, other farmers, non-profit organizations, university researchers or anyone whom you feel would be valuable to your project.
- The proposal application process if very straightforward, but you can improve your proposal, and your chances of being funded, by looking at tips to writing a successful proposal.
Ready to apply?
When you are ready to apply for a Producer Grant, download the Producer Grant Call for Proposals and carefully follow the instructions. The application process always begins with the Call for Proposals. 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.