United States| Southern SARE’s Research Grant Program
The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE’s) is seeking applications for its Research Grants.
Research Grants are competitive research grants for teams of interdisciplinary researchers that encourage a systems approach in sustainable agriculture.
Most agricultural field research is component research – analyzing a part of a system in isolation to the other system’s components to seek a solution to one problem. While good information has been gained from well-conducted component research, one of the shortcomings of a component view is that sometimes a solution to a problem creates new problems to be solved. In addition, component research provides results that often only offer short-term solutions to long-term problems.
The Call for Proposals includes relevant priority areas that allows researchers to more accurately categorize their research project. These categories include:
Minority and limited resource farmers;
Organic farming systems; environmentally sound practices/agriculture ecosystems;
Policy, project evaluation and quality of life;
And women in sustainable agriculture.
To retain their historical strengths, to advance sustainable agriculture, and to encourage a systems approach to research, SSARE offers three categories for Research Grants: production research, postharvest-food systems research, or a continuum that spans both.
Production research: focused on actual production methods, this kind of research has made up the bulk of SARE’s project portfolio in the past and has developed techniques that have become common tools for farmers. SSARE continues to fund these types of research proposals as they provide key parts of a larger holistic system, particularly as they relate to farmer participation in their program and complement the Producer, On-farm, Professional Development, and Graduate Student grant programs.
Postharvest/food systems research: These projects examine what happens past the farm gate such as in the markets, distribution systems and policy making. This category can serve as a funding path for social science researchers to also make a difference in their farm and food systems.
A combination of production and postharvest/food systems research: While some research can be separated into production and postharvest levels, we also seek to encourage attempts to provide integration of the different levels of the agricultural system, as well as the different sciences that lend more value to the results. The ultimate in systems research would connect what goes on in the ground with everything that happens after a crop is harvested, including adding value, marketing, infrastructure for processing and transportation, as well as policy making.
Research Grants require a two-step application process: a pre-proposal application process and a full proposal application process for those invited by the review committee to submit a full proposal. Grant Calls for Proposals open in February and are awarded February the following calendar year.
Research Grant project maximums are $400,000, limited to three (3) years.
Research Grant proposals must meet the following basic requirements in order to be considered for funding:
Project outcomes must focus on developing sustainable agriculture systems or moving existing systems toward sustainable agriculture.
Projects must involve a systems research approach to sustainable agriculture.
Emphasis in Research Grants is placed on farmer participation, particularly for the production projects, on the relevance to sustainable agriculture, and on the strength of a holistic approach. At least three (3) cooperating farmers must be involved in the project, each with a unique and detailed role. For farmers involved in your project, the primary occupation is farming/ranching or part-time farming. Producers run their farm alone or with family or partners and have a least $1,000 of documented annual income from the operation, as defined by USDA. SSARE also considers proposals with farmers from indigenous agriculture that produces products for community food systems. These enterprises may be eligible where the production activity has an annual value of less than $1,000, but products are not sold due to cultural factors.
The project’s central purpose must be research-based with an educational/outreach component to extend the project findings to the public, with specific applicability for and potential adoption by farmers.
Researchers from public and private institutions, such as 1862 and 1890 land-grant universities or other colleges and universities; government agencies, such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service or USDA-ARS; non-governmental organizations; community-based organizations; agribusiness; and individuals such as Ag consultants are eligible to apply for Research Grants.
For more information, visit https://southern.sare.org/grants/apply-for-a-grant/research-education-grants/