Professional Development Grants
ATTENTION: When applying for this grant, please refer to the guidelines in the Call for Proposal and carefully follow the application procedures.
The Professional Development program provides sustainable agriculture education and outreach strategies for Cooperative Extension Service personnel, Natural Resources Conservation Service staff and others who work directly with farmers and ranchers.
Who can apply?
Agricultural professionals such as Cooperative Extension, NRCS, FSA and other USDA staff, agricultural consultants, non-governmental organizations, farmer trainers and others.
What activities are eligible?
Training activities may include seminars, workshops, farm tours, or on-farm demonstrations, or the development, marketing and distribution of training materials such as handbooks or videos. Activities may take place in a single state, multiple states or throughout the entire Southern region. To determine allowable costs for the funding, refer to the USDA-NIFA Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circulars, A-21: Cost Principles for Educational Activities, and A-110: Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements With Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and other Non-Profit Organization. Refer to additional grant regulations on the USDA website.
How much will the grants fund?
There is no funding cap for projects. To fund a broad portfolio of projects, priority will be given to those less than $80,000. The PDP Grant generally funds three to four training projects.
Successful proposals include:
- A focus on developing sustainable agriculture systems or moving existing systems toward sustainable agriculture as defined in the 1990 Farm Bill.
- A central purpose of providing training to Cooperative Extension Service agents, NRCS, FSA and other USDA agency personnel; consultants; and other professionals, including farmers, who will serve as trainers.
To be considered for funding, a project must meet the following two criteria:
1. Project outcomes must focus on developing sustainable agriculture systems or moving existing systems toward sustainability, as defined in the 1990 Farm Bill.
2. A project’s central purpose must be to provide or enable training to Cooperative Extension Service agents; USDA field personnel from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Farm Service Agency, and other USDA agencies; and other agricultural professionals and educators, including farmers who will serve as trainers. Research projects and farmer-outreach or education projects do not qualify for this funding.
Projects should include or involve the following:
• The development of a case for relevancy to southern agriculture and significance to the state(s) involved
• Participation or support from both 1862 and 1890 land grant universities
• Effective participatory training methods
• Systems approach that includes environmental, societal, and economic impacts to the community
• Interdisciplinary efforts and multi-institutional partnerships that can endure beyond the life of the project
• Farmer involvement in planning, evaluation, and delivery of training
• When possible, multiple formats should be used in the delivery of training material. While other formats are allowed, final deliverables should be in an internet-ready format