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Funds available for farmers to explore sustainable agriculture solutions

Are you a farmer with an idea that could make agriculture more sustainable and improve your farming system? Are you looking for support to explore that idea? The North Central Region - Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE) has a grant for you.

Farmers and ranchers in the North Central Region are invited to submit grant proposals to explore sustainable agriculture solutions to problems on the farm or ranch. Your proposal should show how you plan to use your own innovative ideas to support sustainable agriculture and how you will share project results. Sustainable agriculture is good for the environment, profitable and socially responsible. Projects should emphasize research or education/demonstration.

From 1988-2015, the NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher Grant program has funded 114 farmer projects in Michigan totaling $866,242. Projects cover a diverse range of organic and conventional farming operations that reflect the diversity of agriculture in Michigan. Previously funded topics include livestock, poultry, row-crops, fruits, nuts, vegetables, pollinators, cover crops, greenhouses, hoop houses, raised beds, farm to market and more. Examples of recently funded farmer studies include Developing a Strategy for Utilizing Yard Waste Compost in a Corn and Soybean Rotation to Increase Soil Quality, Organic Potato Variety Trial in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Building Capacity through Collaboration and Eliminating Urban Food Deserts.

These competitive grants will fund up to $7,500 for an individual farmer, $15,000 for two collaborating farmers or $22,500 for group grants of three or more collaborating farmers from different farms. For 2016 with this call, NCR-SARE expects to fund about 40 projects in the 12-state North Central Region with approximately $400,000 available for this program. Interested applicants can find the Call for Proposals online as well as useful information for completing a proposal.

Proposals are due Dec. 3, 2015 at 4 p.m. CST.

Michigan applicants can contact me at or 269-967-9672 with questions or for assistance in submitting a proposal. Potential applicants can also contact Joan Benjamin, associate regional coordinator and Farmer Rancher Grant program coordinator, at or 573-681-5545 or 800-529-1342. You can find additional information at NCR-SARE or Michigan SARE

This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit To contact an expert in your area, visit, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).
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