Four Michigan producers awarded NCR-SARE 2023 Farmer Rancher Grants

More than $65,000 was awarded to Michigan producers in 2023 through a competitive grant focused on exploring sustainable solutions in agriculture through on-farm research and education.

Two men standing.
Parker and Kent of Sanctuary Farms. Photo by Sanctuary Farms.

Annually, NCR-SARE awards grants to producers, researchers, and educators to financially support community-driven projects throughout the 12-state North Central Region. One grant available within NCR-SARE is the Farmer Rancher Grant, which specifically provides funding to farmers and ranchers interested in running on-farm research, demonstrations, and educational projects. This grant is competitive and funding considerations are based on how well the applicant presents the problem being addressed, the relevance to sustainable agriculture in the North Central region, and how well it aligns with the goals of NCR-SARE. A diverse mix of agricultural stakeholders in the region make up the NCR-SARE Administrative Council, who decides which projects will receive SARE funds. Council members hail from regional farms, ranches, the Cooperative Extension Service, universities, federal agencies, and nonprofits.

Four Michigan farmers have been awarded Farmer Rancher Grants through the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) program. More than $65,000 was awarded to Michigan producers and $720,000 was awarded in total across the region. The producers awarded Farmer Rancher grants within the state include:

  • Eleanor Hucker with Great Lakes Staple Seeds in Ortonville was awarded $14,852 for the project, “Predictive Yields for Small-Scale Staple Crop Production in the North Central States Using Common Homestead Equipment and Minimal Inputs.”
  • Jøn kent with Sanctuary Farms in Detroit, was awarded $28,870 for the project, “Water Consortium: Researching and Edifying Water Catchment/Conservation Best Practices for Urban Farmers in Detroit.”
  • Tristen Schultz of McLaughlin Grows Urban Farm in Montague was awarded $3,878 for the project, “Incorporating Mushroom Production into an Urban, Outdoor, No-Till, Organic Farm on Existing Productive Space.”
  • Phillip Swartz of Beyond Sustainable Farm in Kalamazoo was awarded $17,965 for the project, “Developing a Cover Cropping and No-Till Planting System for Small Scale Vegetable Farms Using the Two-Wheeled BCS (Walk-Behind) Tractor.”

In addition to the Farmer Rancher grant winners there are two Research and Education grant winners from Michigan.

  • Krista Isaacs with Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI, was awarded $249,932 for the project, “Evaluating an Under-utilized Species for Climate Resilient Forage and Cover Crop Options in North Central Region Cropping Systems.”
  • Meghan Milbrath with Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI, was awarded $114,625 for the project, “Taking the Sting out of Honey Bee Medicine: Training and Tools for Veterinarians to Increase Access to Care for Beekeepers.”

Take a look at all of this year’s NCR-SARE Farmer and Rancher grantees. To learn more about the NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher Grants, visit NCR-SARE’s website or contact Michigan SARE Coordinator Sarah Fronczak. The next call for grant proposals will be released in mid-August and proposals are due each year in early December.

The North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) program works to support farmers, ranchers, researchers, and educators in their efforts to improve farm profitability, protect water and land and revitalize communities. This program is part of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA) and has been in existence since 1988.

NCR-SARE aims to support diversity, equity and inclusion in food and agriculture systems and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program or political beliefs.

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