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Farmer Grants

Grants to USA Farmers in Northeastern
States to Develop Sustainable Farming Practices

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)

Deadline Date:

12/05/17 11:59 PM EST


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Grants of up to $15,000 to USA commercial farmers and food producers in northeastern States to develop new sustainable products and methods. Applications are accepted from farmers and operations in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Washington, DC.

The primary goal of the Farmer Grant program is to help farmers explore new sustainable production and marketing practices, often through an experiment, trial, or on-farm demonstration. Projects may also help farmers to address issues that affect farming and the farm community with long-term sustainability in mind. SARE defines sustainable agriculture as agriculture that is profitable and environmentally sound, and provides a good quality of life for farmers and the wider farm community.

Types of projects funded
Reviewers look to fund projects that promise the greatest benefit to farms and farmers and are well-designed to meet the objectives. Successful proposals define a problem or opportunity and offer solutions or test new ideas.

There are no set restrictions on topic. You can experiment with a new crop or production method, develop a machine or tool that does something new, try out a pest control or grazing technique, explore new ways of adding value, test a new way of marketing directly to the public, or address issues related to farm labor and apprentices, such as improving the skills of immigrant workers and those who manage them.

How SARE funds can be used
SARE funds can be used to cover labor for your time and the time your employees work directly on the project; materials specific to the project; project-related services like soil testing and consulting; project-related travel; postage, printing, and other outreach expenses; stipends or fees for technical advisors, collaborators, and other participants; renting or sharing the cost of equipment needed specifically for the project; and a de minimus contribution to overhead, or indirect costs, at the rate of 10 percent of direct costs.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 175260

Estimated Size of Grant:

Grants are limited to $15,000.

Term of Contract:

Most projects last one year, but multiyear projects are accepted.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

You must be a farm business owner or manager in Washington, D.C, West Virginia, Vermont, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Delaware, or Connecticut.

You must run a commercial operation with an established annual farm income of at least $1,000 from the harvest and sale of crop, nursery, livestock, greenhouse, or aquaculture products that you sell on a regular basis. You need not be farming full time, but the grants are not intended for gardeners or hobby farmers.

Managers on farms affiliated with an institution or a nonprofit organization are eligible to apply, but only if the primary activity of the farm is to produce and sell agricultural products under the kinds of economic constraints that affect commercial farmers. Farms where the primary mission is education or research are not eligible. Farms affiliated with institutions or organizations should apply using the name that appears on their 501(c) (3).

Not funded:
- Expenses to start or expand your farm operation. SARE funds cannot be used to buy land, tractors, livestock, or machinery, or to make long-term improvements like additions, barns, high tunnels, greenhouses, establish a herd, orchard, or vineyard, or to fund any comparable major farm fixture.

- Normal operating expenses. Do not ask for specific overhead costs in the form of utility bills, general maintenance, general supplies, or any other expenses that would be there in the absence of the project. Cell phone expenses are also excluded, even if you use your cell phone in the course of the project.

- Funds used to develop an exclusive or proprietary process, procedure, or technique. One of the goals of the SARE program is getting useful information into the hands of farmers. Information gathered in the course of a SARE grant becomes public information, and will be available on line as interim and final reports.

- Expenses outside the grant period. Expenses incurred before the award notification date or after the end date on the grant contract.

Pre-Application Information:

Proposal timeline
- Online submission deadline: December 5, 2017
- Applicants receive email confirming receipt with link to satisfaction survey: Upon submission
- Proposal review: Dec 2017 – Feb 2018
- Final selection and notification of applicants: February 26, 2018
- Grant contract issued with a February 26 start date: April 2018
- Reviewer comments e-mailed to unfunded applicants and technical advisor: April 2018

Please note that staff will be available to answer questions until 5 p.m. on the due date.

All projects must have a technical advisor such as a county extension agent, NRCS staff, a university research or extension specialist, a private crop consultant, a veterinarian, or other technical expert. Watch a video about technical advisors and their various roles in past projects:

You will need to get a letter of support from your technical advisor that describes his or her involvement and confirms the level of commitment—you will upload this letter with your online application.

Grants are paid on a reimbursement basis. You need to have the financial capacity to pay project costs and be reimbursed one to two months later.

Only one proposal per farm per year is allowed.

Contact Information:

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

Apply Online:

Questions may be directed to:

Carol Delaney, Farmer Grants Coordinator
802/651-8335 ext. 555

You may also contact your State’s Farmer Grants Coordinator.

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