Manage Your Farmer Grant

Congratulations on your grant award from Northeast SARE! We are looking forward to working with you as you conduct your project. The following information serves as a reminder on how to manage your Farmer Grant.

Financial Requirements

All Northeast SARE grants are paid as reimbursements. This means you must submit invoices to us with documentation of project costs. These costs must be in keeping with the budget that was finalized in your contract so be sure to track project expenses (including material costs, labor, outreach expenses, postage, consulting, and travel) separately from other farm expenses. We will reimburse up to 80 percent of the award and hold the last 20 percent until project outreach is completed and the final project report is approved. 

Invoices and documentation

Plan to submit invoices to our office on a monthly (or at least quarterly) basis. Grantees should invoice Northeast SARE for project costs and send copies of receipts or other documentation that confirms that vendors, consultants, and personnel have been paid. To prepare an invoice, download the invoice template. Complete the template, print a copy, sign and date it, and scan it. You will send in the template, scanned version, and proof of payment of expenses (receipt copies) to our financial manager.

Payment processing

Invoices are usually processed on net 30 terms. Processing the first payment may take six to seven weeks as the new award is set up.

Acknowledging SARE

Acknowledgement of Northeast SARE is required for ALL bulletins, guides, websites, outreach materials (including handouts, press releases, flyers, slide shows, presentations, etc.), and all other resources developed with SARE funding.

  • Use the logo. It is available at: www.northeastsare.org/logo
  • Include funding credit language: “This material is based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, through the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program under subaward number [insert your project number here, e.g., FNE20-xxx].”

Conducting Project Outreach

The following resources may help you spread the word about your project and planned outreach activities:

  • Call on your technical advisor. They will likely have ideas and may be able to assist you.
  • Check out the Farmer Field Day Toolkit. The toolkit includes field day tips, sample press releases, and more.
  • Contact a state coordinator. There is a state SARE coordinator at every land grant university; they may be able to assist you in providing outreach ideas. 

Reporting Requirements

Northeast SARE places a high value on good reports. Reports are not complicated to write, but if you don’t write them your grant payments will be delayed or denied.

Report due dates

  • Progress reports are due by January 15 each year the project is active.
  • Final reports are due no later than 30 days after the project end date. 

Online reporting system

All Northeast SARE reports must be submitted using the online reporting system. You will receive an email reminder before a report is due that includes a copy of the reporting instructions. All variables you proposed to measure will be summarized and reported on so it is important to set up your data collection system to match your proposal. In addition, SARE asks questions about your outreach and any behavior changes you may have observed.

Managing Project Changes or Challenges

Sometimes, projects don’t proceed as planned. If you are having problems with your Farmer Grant project–bad weather, labor shortages, or equipment or material problems–you should first talk with your technical advisor for advice about problem solving. If problems persist, it’s a good idea to contact the SARE office and see if there is anything we can do to help. Sometimes a site visit or phone call can result in a way around a problem, and we do like to be kept informed of how things are going. Sometimes the project plan of work can be revised or redirected.

Project changes 

Changes in the project plans or budget must be approved in advance by Northeast SARE. Please contact your grants manager should any of the following circumstances arise.

  • Delays, challenges, or a different idea to accomplish the same study. Keep in mind that the approved project should be honored so changes in the project need to be discussed with and approved by Northeast SARE.
  • Budget changes. Minor variations in the planned costs are expected and acceptable. Please contact us for any new expenditures or major budget reallocations in advance of incurring these expenses.
  • Requests to extend the end date. Should you need a bit more time to complete your project, you may request a no-cost extension (the request should be made at least 30 days before the current end date).

Advice about unexpected results

Keep in mind that unexpected results are not always a problem. For example, if you started you project assuming that you can save space in your greenhouse by creating several tiered plant benches but then learn that the extra tiers leave many of your seedlings starved for sunlight, then that’s a useful finding, not a problem. It’s basically impossible for every project to turn out as planned, but if the project is well run it is likely that new knowledge will surface and be useful to another farmer.

Questions?

If you have questions about managing your Farmer Grant, please contact grant coordinator Candice Huber.