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Farmer Rancher Grant Program

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

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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

Deadline Date:

12/05/19 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 in addressing farm-related needs. The purpose of this program is to explore sustainable solutions for labor, marketing, 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. Projects that involve whole farm systems and/or a youth component are encouraged.

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 with others. There are three types of competitive grants:

  1. Individual grants ($9,000 maximum)
  2. Team of Two grants for two farmers/ranchers from separate and distinct operations who are working together ($18,000 maximum)
  3. Group grants for three or more farmers/ranchers from separate and distinct operations who are working together ($27,000 maximum).

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

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 163677

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

- Individual grants: $9,000 maximum
- Team of Two grants for two farmers/ranchers from separate and distinct operations who are working together: $18,000 maximum
- Group grants for three or more farmers/ranchers from separate and distinct operations who are working together: $27,000 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.

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.

Farmer/Rancher Grants are for innovative sustainable agriculture research or demonstration /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.

Grant funds cannot be used for planning, construction, repair, or remodeling of buildings, or to buy motorized vehicles. These items may be leased or rented with grant funds, if they are needed for the project. Grant funds cannot be used for permanent installations (e.g. wells or buried irrigation lines).

Pre-Application Information:

The online submission system will open on August 7, 2019. Proposals must be received online or in the NCR-SARE office by mail or e-mail by 4:00 p.m. CST on December 5, 2019. Faxed proposals will NOT be reviewed.

The 2020 Grant Cycle:

- August, 2019: Farmer/Rancher grant call for proposals released
- December 5, 2019: Farmer/Rancher grant proposals due
- Spring, 2020: Administrative Council recommends Farmer/Rancher grant recipients. Budgets are reviewed by University accountants for compliance with USDA guidelines and grant contracts are sent out. 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 etc.).
- January 31, 2021: Progress report due. Grant recipients are eligible for a second grant payment (35%) once their progress report and budget is approved.
- January 31, 2022: 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 their final report is 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.

Apply online (from August 7):

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

Joan Benjamin
NCR-SARE Associate Regional Coordinator
Lincoln University
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