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Farmer Rancher Grant Program

Grants to USA Agricultural Producers in Multiple
States for Sustainable Farming and Livestock Projects

Agency Type:


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North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE)

Deadline Date:

12/07/17 4:00 PM CST Receipt


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Grants to Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin farmers and ranchers to apply sustainable practices. The purpose of this program is to explore sustainable solutions for marketing, labor, production, and other problems. Sustainable agriculture practices will be tested through on-farm research, education, or demonstration projects and results are shared with other farmers/ranchers.

Farmer Rancher Grants provide opportunities for farmers/ranchers to use Sustainable Agriculture practices and their own innovative ideas to solve problems on the farm or ranch, and to share their ideas. There are three types of competitive grants:

1. Individual grants

2. Team of Two grants for two farmers/ranchers from separate and distinct operations who are working together

3. Group grants for three or more farmers/ranchers from separate and distinct operations who are working together

Sustainable Agriculture is farming and ranching that is ecologically sound, profitable, and socially responsible. Sustainable Agriculture practices may include but are not limited to:

-Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
-Rotational Grazing (e.g. Management-intensive Grazing and Mob Grazing)
-Soil Erosion Control
-Soil Quality Improvement
-Water Quality Improvement/Wetlands
-Cover Crops
-Crop/Landscape Diversity
-Nutrient Management
-Value-Added and Direct Marketing
-Wildlife Preservation
-Beneficial Insects
-Poultry and Small-Scale Livestock Production
-Holistic/Systems Approaches to Farming and Ranching
-Organic Agriculture
-Proactive Weed Control (e.g. Interseeded cover crops, use of crop rotation, planting row crops in warm soils.

Since the start of the Farmer Rancher Grant Program in 1992, over 1,000 grants have been awarded to farmers/ranchers studying topics such as alternative grain crops as animal feed, alternative uses for CRP land, biological weed and pest management, educating/mentoring the next generation of farmers/ranchers, energy alternatives and conservation, health and safety of employees, holistic management, labor issues, livestock and crop production systems, marketing, organic farming, quality of life issues, rotational grazing, soil conservation, waste management, water quality, water conservation, and more.

Farmer/Rancher Grants are for innovative sustainable agriculture research, demonstration, and education projects; they are NOT for everyday farming expenses, other than those directly related to the grant project. For example, purchasing fencing or livestock to expand your herd would not be allowed. Fencing or livestock needed as part of a research project to explore how different cover crops work in rotational grazing would be allowed, but only for the land and animals involved in the research.

Projects that involve whole farm systems and/or a youth component are encouraged.

Livestock projects need to comply with reasonable animal care requirements to insure that animals are properly cared for.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 163677

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

-Individual grants: $7,500 maximum

-Team of Two grants for two farmers/ranchers from separate and distinct operations who are working together: $15,000 maximum

-Group grants for three or more farmers/ranchers from separate and distinct operations who are working together: $22,500 maximum

Term of Contract:

Grant recipients have 23 months to complete their projects.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Any farmer/rancher or team or group of farmers/ranchers who farm or operate a ranch in the North Central region may apply. (A farmer/rancher is someone who raises crops or livestock, especially as a business.)

The North Central region consists of 12 states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Applicants may be just beginning the transition to a more sustainable operation or may already be using sustainable practices and want to implement additional changes.

Grants to applicants under 21 need to be signed by a parent or guardian.

To qualify for a Team of Two project, there must be two farmer/ rancher participants from separate and distinct operations. To qualify for a Group project, there must be at least three farmer/rancher participants from separate and distinct operations. If your situation is unique, please explain or contact NCR-SARE to discuss your options. Teams and Groups must designate a farmer/rancher project coordinator who will submit and sign the proposal, be responsible for reporting, and assume tax liability associated with the grant, if there is any. Talk with a tax consultant if you have questions.

Grant recipients may participate in one Individual grant and one Team or Group grant annually. Previous farmer/rancher grant recipients are eligible to apply if reports from previous grant projects are up to date. Proposals from previous grant recipients will be evaluated on a competitive basis with all other proposals.

Pre-Application Information:

Proposals are due by 4:00 PM CST, Thursday, December 7, 2017. If you are unable to use the online system you may submit a proposal by mail or email. Mail and e-mail submissions must be received by 4:00 PM CST on Thursday, December 7, 2017.

2018 Grant Cycle:
-August, 2017: Farmer/Rancher grant call for proposals released
-December 7, 2017: Farmer/Rancher grant proposals due
-Spring, 2018: Administrative Council recommends Farmer/Rancher grant recipients
-Spring, 2018: Budgets are reviewed by University accountants for compliance with USDA guidelines and grant contracts are sent out
-Spring 2018: Approximate date of first payment of grant funds (50%) is between April 1 and May 1, (depends in part on how quickly grantees return a signed contract and other information).
-January 31, 2019: Progress report due. Grant recipients are eligible for a second grant payment (35%) once their progress reports are approved.
-January 31, 2020: Project end date and Deadline for submitting final report. All funds should be spent and grant project completed by this date. Grant recipients are eligible for a final payment (15%) once final reports are approved. Final payment is a reimbursement.

Grant Program Presentations:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Submit a proposal online:

If you are unable to use the online system e-mail:

You may also mail proposals to:
Farmer Rancher Grant Program NCR-SARE
120 Biosystems & Ag Eng Bldg
University of Minnesota
1390 Eckles Ave
St Paul MN 55108

The Farmer Rancher Grant Program has a full-time producer liaison, Joan Benjamin. Feel free to contact Joan Benjamin with any questions about this program.

Joan Benjamin, Coordinator
Phone: 573-681-5545
Tollfree: 800-529-1342

Lincoln University in Missouri
Lorenzo J. Greene Hall
900 Leslie Blvd, Room 101
Jefferson City, MO 65101

Grant Coverage Areas:

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Missouri;   Nebraska;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   South Dakota;   Wisconsin