Producers in the North Central Region who have been wanting to
implement more sustainable farming practices, but haven't had the
resources, should consider applying for a grant from the North Central
Region USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education
Farmers and ranchers in the 12-state region can apply for grants of up
to $5,000 to test and demonstrate sustainable agriculture production
and marketing practices in their operations. About $100,000 is
expected to be available in 1994 to producers in the North Central
Region, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan,
Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota,
This is the third year the NCR SARE program has offered the
producer-initiated competitive grants program. Fifty-six grants have
been awarded for projects ranging from rotational grazing and grass
studies to biological weed and pest control, low-input crop production,
nutrient management, composting of manure, use of post-CRP land,
and producing and marketing sweet sorghum syrup.
This program is successful because it provides producers the
opportunity and support to try sustainable practices on-farm under real-
world conditions. Other producers can learn about both the successes
and pitfalls of these projects before trying the new practices.
The one-year grants are to help producers identify barriers to their
adopting sustainable agriculture practices and test possible solutions.
While many of the grants have been to study on-farm problems, others
have been used to sponsor educational programs and field days for
A fact sheet describing previous producer grants is available from the
NCR SARE Office. As projects are completed and evaluated, a
publication of producer reports and recommendations will be
Application forms for the NCR SARE Producer-Initiated Sustainable
Agriculture Grant program will be available from the NCR SARE
Office Feb. 1 and must be submitted by 5 p.m. May 1 to be eligible
for funding consideration this year. No FAXed applications will be
accepted. To request an application form, fact sheet, or more
information on the program, write the North Central Region
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, 13A
Activities Building, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0840
or call (402) 472-7081.
Examples of NCR SARE Producer-Initiated Grants*
-- A Kansas cattleman is constructing a heated sprayer to apply melted beef tall
ow to round bales
to protect the hay.
-- An Indiana grower is testing seeder modifications to plant vegetables into ha
-- Minnesota and Iowa producers are evaluating different varieties and methods o
hazelnut plantings as windbreaks and secondary income sources.
-- A Minnesota producer group is conducting an educational program whereby membe
rs will tour
pastures monthly to assess pasture quality and forage and compare productivity o
f plant species
and management systems.
-- An Illinois producer is evaluating the use of earthworms to improve soil tilt
h and drainage and
neutralize soil pH as well as the effect of a cover crop on the population.
-- A Nebraska producer is evaluating the potential of angora goats and sheep to
-- Free-range poultry are being tested as a control for the Colorado potato
beetle as part of a Michigan project.
-- Several Wisconsin producers have joined to study the labor and quality of lif
e issues related to
implementing sustainable agriculture in their operations.
-- A Michigan producer is testing different methods for applying liquid manure.
-- An Iowa couple is using replicated trials to evaluate the effectiveness of us
ing manure from the
farm operation and sludge from a nearby city of 12,000 people.
-- A Kansas farmer is evaluating several cultural and mechanical nonchemical wee
systems on his diversified farm.
-- Several producers are testing assorted grass mixtures and rotational grazing
varying soil, geographic, climate and production conditions.
-- An Ohio producer is evaluating a rotary spader tillage tool in a cooperative