The Southern Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education
(SARE) program recognizes the value and importance of on-farm, producer
experience in developing solutions to agricultural production problems. In
order to capture this producer experience and enrich our research and
education programming, the Southern Region SARE program is requesting
grant applications from producers or producer organizations interested in
conducting research or education projects related to sustainable agriculture.
This program complements the SARE/ACE research and education granting
program. Producers and producer organizations can apply to either or both
Sustainable agriculture, according to the legislation authorizing the SARE
program, is an integrated system of plant and animal production practices
having a site-specific application that will, over the long-term:
- enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon
which the agricultural economy depends;
- make more efficient use of nonrenewable and on-farm resources
and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and
- sustain the economic viability of agricultural operations; and
- enhance the quality of life for farmers, ranchers, and society as a
What is a Producer Grant (PG)?
A Producer Grant (PG) is a research or education project in the area of
sustainable agriculture. Projects must be developed, coordinated and
conducted by farmers and/or ranchers, or a producer organization. Producers
or producer organizations complete the attached application describing their
project and explaining how it will help other producers understand and adopt
sustainable agriculture practices.
Who can apply?
Any producer or producer organization in the Southern Region is eligible to
apply for a PG. The Southern Region includes: Alabama, Arkansas,
Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina,
Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and the
US Virgin Islands. Producer organizations should be comprised primarily
of farmers/ranchers and must have strong farmer representation on their
What types of projects usually get funding?
PG research projects usually involve an on-farm test of an idea or
technology related to sustainable agriculture. For instance, a farmer in
Alabama received funding from the program to test whether clover clippings
can replace purchased chicken litter in her composting system. She
compared yields and soil test values of plots that received composted chicken
litter with plots that received composted clover clippings. The farmer is
cooperating with a researcher from a local university and with a
non-governmental organization in this one-year project. The SARE program
provided $ 6,160 to cover the costs of sampling, monitoring, additional
labor, travel to learn more about composting and costs associated with a field
day to demonstrate clover composting.
PG education projects should provide producers or producer organizations
with information needed to implement sustainable agriculture practices. For
instance, a farmers' cooperative in South Carolina received a PG to provide
technical assistance concerning vegetable marketing to their farmer
members. The cooperative is working with local extension and NRCS, and
is hosting an annual marketing field day for all interested farmers in the area.
The project will receive $ 10,000 over three years to cover the costs of
workshops and field days.
Other activities that are eligible to obtain funding from the PG program
include farm demonstrations, farmer workshops, farmer surveys and
farmer-to-farmer networking activities. Projects should be innovative and
results that many other farmers may adopt.
Successful projects usually include other farmers, researchers, extension
agents or specialists, governmental or nongovernmental organizations or
other interested individuals as cooperators who help in project planning, data
collection and communication of project results. All project participants
must submit a letter of commitment with the application. Letters of
commitment must clearly state how cooperators plan to participate in the
All projects must have an outreach plan for providing other producers,
researchers and extension personnel with an opportunity to learn from project
results. Outreach plans may include workshops, field days, fact sheets or
What expenses will a PG cover?
Projects may be funded up to three years for a total of $ 10,000. The
average funding level for 1995 was $8,174. The program will only cover
costs associated with a project and will not fund permanent improvements
to a farm or ranch. Funds may cover costs of sampling and sample analysis,
additional labor costs associated with the project, and costs of materials and
supplies needed for the project. While funds are not for personal use, extra
labor or managerial requirements associated with the project can be
reimbursed in some cases. The PG program will not cover the costs of
general equipment such as tractors, computers or irrigation systems, nor
permanent improvements such as planting an orchard or fencing.
What expenses will you be expected to cover if you get a PG?
All project applicants must show that they are contributing to the project.
These contributions, called "matching contributions," are monetary or in-kind
contributions provided by the producer or producer organization.
Matching funds should be at least 25% of the total project cost. Examples
of matching contributions can include extra labor requirements associated
with the project, seed, equipment, rental value of land and equipment used
in the project.
How are PG's selected?
Due to funding limitations, the SARE program cannot fund all of the
projects that meet the criteria. All funding is awarded competitively. A
sub-committee of the Southern Region SARE Administrative Council evaluates
all PG applications received by the due date from producers or producer
organizations eligible for funding. The majority of sub-committee members
are producers who are familiar with sustainable agriculture, but the sub-committ
ee also includes representatives from the research and extension
community, non-governmental organizations, and state and federal
government agencies throughout the south.
The key questions that this sub-committee uses to evaluate applications are:
1) Does the proposed activity address an important problem facing
sustainable agriculture in the Southern Region? 2) Is the proposed activity
an appropriate and realistic way to address the problem? 3) Does the
application explain how results will be communicated to a large audience?
4) Is the budget realistic and appropriate for the project? 5) Are all
participants and collaborators committed to the project?
In 1995, the Southern SARE program received 96 applications for producer
grants, and funded 15 projects for a total of $122,604. The average funding
received for 1995 projects was $ 8,174.
What will happen if your project is selected?
Project selections are made by the Administrative Council in February.
Shortly after that meeting you will be contacted regarding the status of your
application and all review comments on your application will be sent to you.
You will not receive funding until mid- or late-July. You will be asked
to sign a contract prior to receiving any funds. Any expenses you incur prior
to signing the contract cannot be reimbursed. If you sign this contract you
are agreeing to conduct the activities outlined in your application. Any
changes in budget or activities must receive prior approval by the SARE
management office. The program will reimburse PG recipients upon
submission of receipts and you will be asked to keep detailed financial and
project activity records. A one-time advance of a percentage of project funds
may be available to some projects on a case by case basis. You will be asked
to submit photographs and a short report detailing your activities each year.
How can you apply for a PG?
Complete the attached application form and submit it to the Southern Region
SARE/ACE Program office. Completed application forms must reach
the SARE/ACE program by December 1, 1995. If you have any
questions about the application procedure or SARE program, contact:
Paula B. Ford Alternative Farming Systems Information Center
Southern Region SARE/ACE Program Room 304, 1031 Baltimore Boulevard
1109 Experiment Street Beltsville, MD 20705
Griffin, GA 30223-1797 (301) 504-5724
(404) 412-4787 Internet: sareace╣gaes.griffin.peachnet.edu
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education
Please type or print clearly. If necessary, attach additional pages.
1. Describe the problem or barrier to sustainable agriculture that your
research or education project will address.
2. Describe your project in detail. Include the following information:
A tentative timetable for project activities.
An outline of the activities you are proposing.
A list of cooperators who have agreed to help you in your project.
Cooperators can include other farmers, extension agents or specialists,
researchers, non-governmental organizations and other agricultural
service providers (NRCS, ASCS, etc.). Briefly state the role that each
cooperator will play in your project and request each cooperator to
submit a letter of commitment to the project. Letters of commitment
must be included in the application packet and will not be considered
if submitted under a separate cover.
3. How do you plan to communicate project results to other producers and
interested parties? Outreach activities can include field days,
workshops, or publications.
4. Briefly describe your farm, ranch, operation, or producer organization.
5. Complete a budget Worksheet for each year of your project. In the
space below, explain how you propose to use the project funds.
Signature of Applicant(s) Date
All project participants must submit a letter of commitment with this
application. Letters of commitment must clearly state how cooperators will
participate in the project.
1996 PRODUCER-INITIATED GRANT APPLICATION
Please complete one copy of this form for each year of your proposed
project. Use blank space within each budget category to specify how the
money will be spent.
Major participants (list below)
Other personnel (including extra
Operating and Supplies
Rental value of land/equipment
Gwen Roland GROLAND @ GAES.GRIFFIN.PEACHNET.EDU