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Professional Development Program (PDP) Grants

Grants to USA Nonprofits, Agencies, and IHEs in Western States
for Sustainable Agricultural Professional Development

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)

Deadline Date:

11/01/17 12:00 PM MDT (Noon) Receipt


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Grants of up to $75,000 to USA research institutions, agencies, and IHEs multiple western states and pacific territories for professional development opportunities in the field of sustainable agriculture. Eligible states and territories include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and The Federated States of Micronesia.

Professional Development Program (PDP) Grants are aimed at helping Cooperative Extension Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service and other agricultural professionals in the Western Region increase their understanding and proficiency in sustainable agriculture.

The council typically selects proposals diverse in subject matter and geography and that demonstrate outcomes that farmers and ranchers in the region can successfully adopt.

Important note: Congress mandates that the SARE grant program depart from “business as usual.” To that end, the Administrative Council requires that agricultural producers be involved from start to finish in the planning, design, implementation and educational outreach of any SARE-funded project.

PDP projects should:
-Increase ag professionals’ sustainable agriculture knowledge, skills and action.
-Have outreach plans that demonstrate how the project will effectively deliver this knowledge.

Congress has defined sustainable agriculture as an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will over the long-term:
-Satisfy human food and fiber needs
-Enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agriculture economy depends
-Make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls
-Sustain the economic viability of farm operations
-Enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.

Key Points to Consider in Project Development:

1) Institutional and collaborative participation: A goal of the program is to broaden the trainer/educator base of sustainable agriculture expertise. Multidisciplinary, multi-state and multi-university efforts that include other private or public entities are encouraged. Agricultural producers and community leaders may be included as part of the trainer/educator team.

2) Integrated training and education: Applications should emphasize an integrated or holistic approach with methods and outputs that support a broad-based educational effort. SARE encourages applications that integrate multiple aspects of sustainable agricultural production, marketing, families, rural communities and quality of life.

3) Training and educational methodology: Projects must demonstrate enhanced knowledge and skills of participants, and trainer/educator teams are encouraged to develop new and innovative ways for learning to take place. Projects that create electronic or written educational products (e.g. manuals, web-based tutorial or databases) should have an accompanying training component for use of that product, such as training sessions or tutorials.

4) Impacts and outcomes assessment: It is important to provide evidence that educational objectives have been fulfilled, with desired outcomes clearly defined, evaluated and documented. Grantees should build in a reasonable timeline and approach to properly complete evaluation of project impacts.

Criteria for 2018 PDP Grants:

Professional Development Program Grants are designed to educate agricultural professionals about sustainable agriculture so that they, in turn, can help educate and train farmers and ranchers. Funded PDP grants must help achieve this long-term outcome:

Cooperative Extension, Natural Resource Conservation Service and other agricultural professionals are conversant in sustainable agriculture principles and systems. They have ready access to resources that can help producers make informed decisions about adopting sustainable approaches with greater certainty and less risk.

Projects must improve the ability of agricultural professionals to conduct educational programs and activities in sustainable agriculture principles and systems and to respond to inquiries on the subject from farmers, ranchers and the public.

Approaches can include:
-Development of materials or curricula
-Web-based courses

Multi-faceted proposals are encouraged. Projects using multiple techniques or methods are preferred, as are efforts whose results can be applied to wide and diverse audiences.

Subject matter can include any sustainable agriculture endeavor, including animal agriculture, agronomic or horticultural crop production or the effects of sustainable practices on quality of life for producers or rural communities.

Projects with a scope beyond a single state or area are encouraged. Funding is capped at $75,000 per project. Projects requesting significantly less than the maximum allowable amount generally have a greater likelihood of being funded. This is especially true if the geographic scope of the project includes only a single state.

Program Goals for Projects Funded by Western SARE:

1. Promote good stewardship of the nation’s natural resources by providing site-specific, regional and profitable sustainable farming and ranching methods that strengthen agricultural competitiveness; satisfy human food and fiber needs; maintain and enhance the quality and productivity of soil; conserve soil, water, energy, natural resources and fish and wildlife habitat; and maintain and improve the quality of surface and ground water.

2. Enhance the quality of life of farmers and ranchers and ensure the viability of rural communities, for example, by increasing income and employment, especially profitable self-employment and innovative marketing opportunities in agricultural and rural communities.

3. Protect the health and safety of those involved in food and farm systems by reducing, where feasible and practical, the use of toxic materials in agricultural production, and by optimizing on- farm resources and integrating, where appropriate, biological cycles and controls.

4. Promote crop, livestock and enterprise diversification.

5. Examine the regional, economic, social and environmental implications of adopting sustainable agriculture practices and systems.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 176395

Estimated Size of Grant:

Funding is capped at $75,000 per project. Projects requesting significantly less than the maximum allowable amount generally have a greater likelihood of being funded. This is especially true if the geographic scope of the project includes only a single state.

Term of Contract:

Multi-year projects are allowed.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Proposed projects can be located at any institution, including nongovernmental organizations, that has demonstrated fiscal responsibility and expertise in sustainable agriculture, and is able and qualified to receive funds from the U.S. Government.

Multidisciplinary, multi-state, and multi-university efforts that include other private or public entities are encouraged.

Pre-Application Information:

Letters of support are not mandatory, however, they are encouraged.

Proposals must be received by 12:00 noon, MDT, November 1, 2017.

The Technical Review Panel recommends proposals for grant funding in January 2018.

The Western SARE Administrative Council makes final selections in March 2018. Principal investigators of funded grants are informed by April 1, 2018.

If appropriations are similar to last year, approximately $500,000 should be available for Western SARE PDP competitive grants.

Funds for selected projects are disbursed summer/fall 2018.

Contact Information:

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

Apply Online:

Jim Freeburn

Al Kurki

Jill West

Western SARE
4516 Highway 26/85
Torrington, WY 82240

State Coordinators:

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alaska;   Arizona;   California;   Colorado;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Montana;   Nevada;   New Mexico;   Oregon;   Utah;   Washington;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

USA Compact Free Associations: The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)