Sustainable agriculture grants for training farm educators and graduate student research

Apply by April for projects supporting people, resource protection, and long-term farm profitability.

People working in a field.
SARE grants support groundbreaking work, such as MSU graduate student Corinn Rutkoski's project, conserving pollinators on farms with prairie strips. Ruthkoski is shown seated on the edge of a soil pit comparing crop land to prairie strips as part of a field day to share her results with farmers and educators. Photo by Liz Schultheis.

Sustainable agriculture educators and graduate students researching farming innovations that support people, long-term profit, and protect natural resources are encouraged to apply this April for two grant programs, USDA North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE). SARE Professional Development Grants fund up to $120,000 for “training agricultural educators, using farmers as educators and addressing emerging issues in the farm community”. Proposals are due by April 6, 2023. Masters’ and PhD students at accredited colleges & universities can apply until April 20, 2023 for SARE Graduate Student Grants of up to $15,000 to “address sustainable agriculture issues” in the North Central region.

Michigan SARE Coordinator, Sarah Fronczak, and Katie Brandt from the MSU Organic Farmer Training Program are glad to advise applicants, review proposals and support farmers, educators and students applying for NCR-SARE grants. Grant-writing support is available free of charge for all six North Central SARE grants and for Michigan SARE mini-grants. Email or with questions, to have a proposal reviewed or to set up a time to discuss your proposal idea.

Here is a full list of SARE grants available in Michigan:

  • Professional Development Grants – Up to $120,000 for “training agricultural educators, using farmers as educators and addressing emerging issues in the farm community” (Due April 6, 2023)
  • Graduate Student Grants – Up to $15,000 for Masters’ and PhD students at accredited colleges & universities to “address sustainable agriculture issues” in the North Central region (Due April 20, 2023)
  • Farmer Rancher Grants – Up to $15,000 for 1 farm or $30,000 for two+ farms to design and lead research, demonstration, and education projects in sustainable farm practices. (Due December)
  • Research & Education Grants - $10,000 to $250,000 for on-farm research, farmer education and other projects that “explore and promote environmentally sound, profitable, and socially responsible food and/or fiber systems.” (Pre-proposals due October)
  • Partnership Grants – Up to $50,000 for farm educators and agriculture professionals who partner with 3 or more farmers to research, demonstrate, educate or collaborate on issues important to sustainable farming. (Due October)
  • Youth Educator Grants – Up to $6,000 for projects that teach youth about sustainable agriculture and careers in sustainable agriculture. (Due November)
  • Michigan SARE Mini-Grant – Up to $1,500 to organize a conference or workshop addressing environmental, social and financial sustainability for Michigan or regional farmers and educators
  • Michigan SARE Farmer Forum – $6,000 to host and record an event featuring SARE grantees

SARE funding supports the triple bottom line of sustainable farm innovations, including environmental/soil benefits, economic viability, and farmer/community benefits. Farmers, ranchers, educators, farm advocacy organizations, MSU Extension staff, researchers and agriculture professionals are welcome to apply. SARE also shares numerous resources focused on innovative farming techniques for environmental sustainability, economic viability and farmer/community well-being. For more information about SARE grants and resources, visit MSU Extension or SARE.

SARE has distributed $8,698,525 to fund 305 grant projects in Michigan since 1988. The program aims to support an inclusive mix of farmers 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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