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Professional Development Grants

Grants to USA Farmers, IHEs, Nonprofits, and For-Profits
in Northeast States for Training in Sustainable Agriculture

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Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)

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Grants starting at $30,000 to USA farmers, researchers, educators, graduate students, and agricultural service providers in the Northeast region for training in sustainable agriculture practices. Applicants must submit a preproposal prior to applying. The Northeast region includes: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Vermont, and Washington, D.C.

The program—including funding decisions—is driven by the Northeast SARE outcome statement:
Agriculture in the Northeast will be diversified and profitable, providing healthful products to its customers; it will be conducted by farmers who manage resources wisely, who are satisfied with their lifestyles, and have a positive influence on their communities and the environment.

The Professional Development Grant Program funds projects that train agricultural service providers such as Cooperative Extension educators, nonprofit organization staff, state department of agriculture personnel, crop consultants, farm advisors with private businesses, and veterinarians about sustainable practices and approaches so that they can, in turn, educate farmers.

Projects must seek wider adoption of sustainable practices or approaches through education. Practices or approaches taught must address one or more of the three tenets of sustainable agriculture: environmental quality, financial viability, and social sustainability including farm succession/transfer, farmer health and well-being and quality of life.

SARE funds can be used for the following project expenses: personnel, travel, materials and supplies, farm equipment rental, communications, and other direct costs. USDA currently allows indirect costs up to 10% of total funds, which may be estimated as 11.11% of direct costs.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 171785

Number of Grants:

Three to six Professional Development awards are expected to be made this year.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Reviewers prefer projects in the $30,000 to $150,000 range. Funding requests should align with project duration, scope of the work, and intensity of interaction with beneficiaries. Amounts higher than the typical range will be considered for projects that include multi-disciplinary or multi-institutional education networks, especially when those networks enable a more comprehensive systems approach to addressing challenges or opportunities.

Term of Contract:

Typical project length is 2 to 3 years. All projects must be completed by November 30, 2023.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Project leaders must have the skills, experience and institutional capacity necessary to carry out the project. Northeast SARE welcomes preproposals from a wide range of stakeholders including university and extension staff, agricultural nonprofits, research farm and experiment station personnel, private consultants, agriculture related businesses and organizations, government agencies, and others who work in farming and food systems.

SARE funds cannot be used for the following: capital expenditures--items like land, buildings, livestock, greenhouses; other major fixtures and improvements; general use items; incentive offers and promotional items; most international travel; purchase of motorized vehicles and equipment; cell phone charges; food expenses (unless necessary for the continuity of a training event or project meeting); and machinery not essential to the project.

Pre-Application Information:

Grant Timeline:
- Online application system opens for submissions: May 31, 2019
- Preproposal submission deadline: June 25, 2019, 5:00 PM ET
- Project leaders notified whether or not they are invited to submit a full proposal: August 12, 2019
- Feedback provided to invited preproposals to strengthen full proposal: August 30, 2019
- Feedback provided to preproposals not invited: September 30, 2019
- Full proposal submission deadline: October 29, 2019
- Awards announced to project leaders: Late February 2020
- Earliest start date for projects, with contracts from UVM to follow shortly: Late February 2020
- Grant management conference calls with Northeast SARE staff: March 2020

Staff support to answer questions or deal with technical submission issues will be available until 5:00 PM ET on the due date.

Applicants will be notified if they are invited to submit a full proposal on August 12, 2019. Feedback that may be used to strengthen a full proposal will be provided to project leaders with invited preproposals by August 30, 2019. For preproposals not invited to submit full proposals, feedback will be provided to project leaders by the end of September.

About Preproposals:

About Full Proposals:

Contact Information:

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

Submit Preproposal Online:

Specific questions should be directed to Janet McAllister at or 860/486-1950.

Northeast SARE
University of Vermont
140 Kennedy Drive, Suite 201
South Burlington, VT 05403


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Connecticut;   Delaware;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New York City;   New York;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   Vermont;   Washington, DC;   West Virginia