The Research and Education Grant program funds projects that result in gains in farmer knowledge, awareness, skills, and attitudes that are then applied to make measurable on-farm changes leading to greater sustainability. The focus on farmer behavior change is a key requirement of this grant program.
All proposals must include an education program for farmers that seeks to achieve a “performance target” that describes the changes in practices, behaviors or conditions among farmers expected to result from the proposed project. Preproposals may be submitted with or without an applied research component supporting the education program.
A wide variety of topics can be funded by Northeast SARE, including marketing and business, crop production, raising livestock, aquaculture, social sustainability, urban and Indigenous agriculture and much more. Other aspects of projects funded through the Northeast SARE program include those that address climate-smart agriculture practices intended to improve ecological, social, and economic resilience to climate change; increase carbon sequestration; and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate-smart practices include reduced and no-till, cover crops, prescribed grazing, ruminant feed management, manure management, fertilizer management, and on-farm energy efficiency. In addition, projects may address traditional ecological knowledge.
This grant program uses an outcome funding approach that directly connects project activities to measurable goals. If you are not familiar with how outcome funding works, we urge you to read Northeast SARE's Guide to Outcome Funding.
Central to this approach is the performance target, a statement that describes the changes in behavior or conditions among farmers that are expected as a result from the proposed project.
Preproposals are required for the Research and Education Grant Program. The preproposal is a preliminary concept document that allows SARE reviewers to select which projects to invite to submit full proposals. Proposals are only invited if they have strong, data-based justification, a clear and measurable performance target, and effective educational approaches.
Only invited preproposal applicants are eligible to submit a full proposal.
Preproposals for this grant program are typically due in mid-summer and invited full proposals are usually due in the fall. To find out when this program next opens for applications, sign up for our newsletters.
Research and Education Grants are open to anyone who works with farmers, including personnel at nonprofit organizations, colleges and universities, Cooperative Extension, municipalities, tribal governments, state departments of agriculture, federal agencies, research farms and experiment stations, for-profit business entities (such as private consultants, farmers and veterinary practices), etc.
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.
Your organization must have the legal structure and financial capacity to receive and implement 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. Applicants and host organizations may be located outside of the Northeast region if the project activities and the farmers served are located within the Northeast region.
Awards typically range from $30,000 to $250,000. Funding requests should align with project duration, scope of the work, and intensity of interaction with beneficiaries. Amounts higher than the typical range will be considered based on project complexity and duration.
In previous years, about one-third of preproposals have been invited to submit full proposals, and about one-third of full proposal submissions have been awarded. Ten to fifteen awards are typically made each year, depending on available funding.
Typical project length is 2 to 3 years. The maximum project length allowed is 3.5 years.
Please contact Associate Director Heather Omand with your questions.