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SARE Farmer Rancher Grant Writing Workshop. Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant University of Illinois Extension Small Farm and Sustainable Agriculture Extension Specialist SARE Coordinator. What is SARE? . S ustainable A griculture R esearch and E ducation SARE first funded in 1988

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SARE Farmer Rancher Grant Writing Workshop

Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant

University of Illinois Extension

Small Farm and Sustainable

Agriculture Extension Specialist

SARE Coordinator


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What is SARE?

  • Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education

  • SARE first funded in 1988

  • Competitive grants program

  • Funding for research, demonstration, education and extension


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SARE’s Mission

  • Strengthen rural communities, increase farmer/rancher profitability, and improve the environment by supporting research and education.


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SARE’s Purpose

  • To generate and disseminate sound and practical information about alternative farming systems believed to have the potential to increase the sustainability of agriculture.


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Sustainable Agriculture is…

  • an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will, over the long term:

    • satisfy human food and fiber needs;

    • enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agriculture economy depends;

    • make the most efficient use of non-renewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls;

    • sustain the economic viability of farm operations; and

    • enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.

      (Title XVI, Subtitle A. Section 1603


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SARE Grant Programs

  • Research and Education Grant Program

  • Professional Development Program

  • Graduate Student Program

  • Farmer Rancher Grant Program


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NCR SARE Farmer Rancher Grant Program

  • NOT for everyday farming expenses

  • Identify specific problems and potential solutions

  • Maximum duration for grant projects is 21 months

  • Whole farm systems and youth projects are encouraged

  • Livestock project must comply with reasonable care requirements



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2007 Farmer Rancher Dollars Funded Per State – $394,229 Total




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NCR SARE Farmer DateRancher Grant Call for Proposals

  • What?

  • Who?

  • Where?

  • When?

  • Characteristics of Successful Applications

  • How to Submit a Grant Proposal

  • Application Evaluation

  • Application Requirements


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What Date

  • Proposals must:

    • Test a sustainable agriculture technique that is new to the farm

    • Educate/demonstrate to others a sustainable agriculture technique that could be used more widely in the area

      • Conduct learning circles, educational events, field days or demonstrations to further disseminate information

      • Develop new technologies

      • Create or modify equipment


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What Date

  • NOT for everyday farming expenses

  • Identify specific problems and potential solutions

  • Whole farm systems and youth projects are encouraged

  • Livestock project must comply with reasonable care requirements


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What Date

  • Since 1992, 686 grants have been awarded

    • 43 in Illinois and 30 in Indiana

    • Topics include rotational grazing, aquaculture, weed control, marketing and crop production systems


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What Date

  • $400,000 available in 2008

    • $6,000 for individuals

    • $18,000 for groups (3 or more independent and separate operations)

  • Duration

    • Maximum duration is 21 months


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Who Date

  • Any farmer/rancher or group of farmer/ranchers* who farms in the North Central Region

  • Previous producer grant recipients

    * Three or more independent and separate operations. Must designate one individual farmer/rancher as group leader.


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Where Date

  • The North Central Region consists of 12 states:

    • Illinois -Missouri

    • Indiana -Nebraska

    • Iowa -North Dakota

    • Kansas -Ohio

    • Michigan -South Dakota

    • Minnesota -Wisconsin

      Farmers and ranchers from other states are eligible to apply if their proposed projects benefit the NCR at least as much as they benefit other regions.


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When Date

  • 2008 Grant Cycle

  • August 20, 2008 Farmer/Rancher grant applications available

  • December 1, 2008 Deadline for receiving Farmer/Rancher Grant applications

  • Spring, 2009 Administrative Council recommends Farmer/Rancher grantrecipients

  • Spring, 2009 Budgets are reviewed by University accountants for compliance with USDA guidelines and grant contracts are sent out

  • Early summer Approximate date of first payment (50%)

  • March 1, 2010 Progress report due (2nd grant payment – 35%)

  • March 1, 2011 Deadline for submitting final report (eligible for final payment (15%) when final report is approved)


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Characteristics of Successful Applications Date

  • Clearly define a problem

  • Involve cooperators

  • Belong to local or state groups

  • Outreach components


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Application Evaluation Date

  • Review Criteria and Evaluation Process

    • Well-identified problem and specific innovative plan to test possible solutions to that problem

    • Best use of existing knowledge on the identified problem

    • Effective plan for sharing project information

    • Contribution to the growth of sustainable agriculture

    • Appropriateness of the budget


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How to Submit a Grant Proposal Date

  • Applications must be received by mail or e-mail in the NCR SARE office by 4:30 p.m. (CST) on Monday, December 1, 2008. Faxed applications will not be reviewed.


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Application Evaluation Date

  • What to Expect

    • Return signed contract to NCR-SARE

    • May receive a visit from the Farmer Rancher Grant Program Coordinator

    • For projects that last for more than one year, must submit a progress report by March 1, 2010


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Application Evaluation Date

  • What to Expect

    • At the end of the project, must submit:

      • Final report summarizing the project

      • Final budget that shows how funds were spent

      • Photos, when possible


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Application Evaluation Date

  • What to Expect

    • Funds will be disbursed in the following manner:

    • Grant recipients may request and receive 50% of the grant to start their project. They may request an additional 35% after submitting a satisfactory progress report at the end of the first year of their project, and they may request the remaining 15% upon completion of the project


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Application Requirements Date

  • Project Proposal

    • Proposals are limited to 5 pages, single-sided, excluding the budget. Proposals exceeding page limits will not be reviewed

    • Applications must be typed using no smaller than a 12-point font, similar to the text in the invitation for proposals, or legibly written in dark ink

    • Do not staple or paper clip your application


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Application Requirements Date

  • Budget

    • Complete the budget form included in the RFP. Along with each item, briefly explain how each item in your budget will be used in your project


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Application Requirements Date

  • Budget Tips

    • Personnel Costs

      • Include name, contact information and role for each participant

      • Include everyone who will participate, even if they are not receiving funds

      • Matching funds are not required, but reviewers like to know if you and/or others are making contributions


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Application Requirements Date

  • 50% Rule

    • Grant funds can be used to pay for up to 50% of the cost of equipment, permanent fencing materials, and perennial seeds and plants


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Application Requirements Date

  • Calculating Costs

    • Use realistic costs – not guesses.

    • Labor, land and equipment, and supplies – calculate on an annual cost-equivalent basis, i.e., operator labor per year @ $15/hour


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Application Requirements Date

  • Unallowable Expenses

    • Construction and remodeling of buildings

    • Purchase of livestock

    • Purchase of motorized vehicles (may be leased)


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Application Requirements Date

  • Food Expenses

    • Light refreshments at field days (coffee, cold drinks, fruit, pie, cookies, etc.) can be paid with grant funds, but typically meals cannot


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Application Requirements Date

  • Investigate Cost-Sharing

    • Contact state and federal agencies to see if they have funds that may be used to supplement your grant


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Application Requirements Date

  • Reference Letter

    • Required (no more than two)

    • Explain why the project is needed and how it will benefit the community

    • Contact references early and make sure that they are familiar with your project


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For Assistance DateSARE PDP Coordinators

  • Illinois

    • Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant [email protected]

  • Indiana

    • Tom Jordan, [email protected]


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