NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher Grant Program

Have a great idea about how to enhance sustainable agriculture and your farm’s future? Consider writing a NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant!

It is time to put your ideas on paper to help sustain your farm’s future. The North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) Farmer Rancher Grant Program wants to support your great ideas to enhance sustainable agriculture. Michigan farmers have been very successful in receiving these grant dollars. Ninety farmer and rancher grants have been funded to Michigan farmers.

You will need to organize your thoughts and focus your ideas to be funded. The grants are competitive and about 50 are granted each year across the NCR. For tips on how to write a farmer/rancher great, read “So you want to write a farmer/rancher grant?


The USDA-funded SARE program was authorized by the 1985 Farm Bill and was first funded in 1988. SARE operates through four regional offices as well as a national office. The NCR serves Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

NCR-SARE strengthens rural communities, increases farmer and rancher profitability and improves the environment by supporting research and education. NCR-SARE currently has four grant programs: Farmer Rancher, which includes Youth and Youth Educator grants; Graduate Student; Professional Development; and Research and Education.

NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher Grants

NCR-SARE awards competitive grants to farmers and ranchers for on-farm research, demonstration and education projects. There are three types of grants: individual ($7,500 maximum); partner ($15,000 maximum); and group ($22,500 maximum). Projects must be completed in 25 months.

For 2010, NCR-SARE received 129 proposals and approved 50 grants for funding, totaling $413,972. Funding since the program began in 1992 totals $5,618,587 and includes funds from the National Agroforestry Center and USDA Ag Marketing.

Farmer Rancher grants have funded a variety of research topics, including alternative grain crops as food or animal feed, holistic management, pest and disease management, crop production, education or outreach, networking, quality of life issues, energy, livestock production, marketing, soil quality, waste management, water quality and more.

NCR-SARE Grant Proposals

The Call for Proposals is issued in August, proposals are due in early December, and funding for successful proposals is available in the spring.

To request the Farmer Rancher Grant Call for Proposals, contact the NCR-SARE office at

800-529-1342 or e‑mail Follow the directions in the Call for Proposals carefully.

Visit the NCR-SARE website for a list of resources to help you write your proposal.

Before you write the grant proposal, determine a clear project goal and explore sustainable agriculture research on your topic. You can view reports from funded projects on the national SARE website (click on the “Project Reports” tab at the top of the page to see the reports). It can be helpful to contact Extension educators, local agriculture groups, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service to share ideas and invite participation.

For additional information on SARE grants and grant writing, contact Dale R. Mutch or Dean Baas, Michigan SARE co-coordinators. Visit the SARE website to get more information on SARE grants in Michigan.

If you have questions, contact the NCR-SARE Office 800-529-1342, or Joan Benjamin, associate regional coordinator, at 573-681-5545.

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