Farmer Grant Program

Northeast SARE offers grants to farmers to explore new concepts in sustainable agriculture conducted through experiments, surveys, prototypes, on-farm demonstrations or other research and education techniques. Farmer Grant projects address issues that affect farming with long-term sustainability in mind.

Competitive proposals explore new ideas and techniques or apply known ideas in new ways or with new communities. Reviewers look to fund projects that are well-designed to meet proposed objectives and promise the greatest benefit to farming communities.

A wide variety of topics can be funded by Northeast SARE, including marketing and business, crop production, raising livestock, aquaculture, social sustainability, climate-smart agriculture practices, urban and Indigenous agriculture and much more. For guidance on how to design your project, refer to SARE’s bulletin, How to Conduct Research on Your Farm or Ranch. To see examples of funded Farmer Grant projects, visit the national SARE project database at

Eligible Applicants

The Farmer Grant program is open to all commercial farm business owners and farm employees in the Northeast region. This grant program accepts all types and scales of farms - large or small scale, organic or conventional, urban or rural, full- or part-time, etc.

To be eligible, you must meet the U.S. Census of Agriculture definition of a Farm: “Any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the census year.” For more information see, “Northeast SARE’s Definition of Farm”.

Farm employees are eligible to apply. If you are applying as a farm employee, you must complete a Grant Commitment Form and ensure that it includes both your signature and the farm owner’s signature verifying they will be financially responsible for the project.

Farmers on farms affiliated with an institution or a nonprofit organization are also eligible to apply as long as the farm produces and sells agricultural products that meet the farm definition above. For these proposals, you must use the name of the 501(c) organization in the proposal and complete a Grant Commitment Form.

Northeast SARE encourages projects submitted from or in collaboration with women, the LGBTQIA+ community, and Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). Additionally, we encourage projects submitted from or in collaboration with Minority Serving Institutions (including 1890s and other historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and tribal colleges and universities) and other organizations in the Northeast that work with historically underserved communities.   

Northeast SARE grants are paid on a reimbursement basis. Therefore, your farm must have the legal structure and financial capacity in place to receive and execute a Northeast SARE contract, including expending funds needed for the project prior to receiving reimbursements from Northeast SARE; advance payments are not possible. Projects must take place within the Northeast region. Proposals are limited to one per farm per year. Current grant recipients who are behind in their reporting cannot apply.

Northeast SARE will not fund proposals that appear to duplicate work that has been approved for funding by another grant program (within or external to SARE).

Northeast SARE is committed to accessibility for all eligible applicants. We encourage you to reach out to us regarding any challenges you experience as you plan and submit your proposal. To do so or to specifically request a disability-related accommodation, please contact Northeast SARE as soon as possible at 802-651-8335 or [email protected].

Funding available and timeline

Awards typically range from $5,000 to $30,000, depending upon a project’s complexity and duration. Projects that are more complex include multi-farm collaboration, intensive education for other farmers and/or service providers, and/or replicated research over multiple years or locations. Simpler, straightforward proposals with modest budgets are equally encouraged.

Applicants should only request the amount of funding that is clearly necessary for the success of their project.

What funds can be used for

Funds can be used to conduct the research project including paying farmers for their time, for project-related materials, for project costs like consulting fees or soil tests, and any communications or outreach expenses associated with telling others about project results.

What funds cannot be used for

This grant program is not meant to help start or expand farm businesses. Farmer Grant funds cannot be used for capital costs associated with building a barn, greenhouse, or other major farm fixture, nor can funds be used to start a farm, purchase durable equipment like tractors or computers, or for any utility, telephone, or other costs that would be there in the absence of the project.

What is expected of grantees

Farmer Grant recipients are expected to collect and manage reliable data about their project and convey this information clearly through annual and final reports. Learn more about Managing Farmer Grants here.