NCR-SARE: Farmer Rancher Grant Program

North Central Region SARE

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Grant amount: Up to US $22,500

Anticipated deadline: Dec 6, 2019 2:00pm PST

Applicant type: Working Professional

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Research

Location of project: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan Expand all

Location of residency: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan Expand all

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NCR-SARE’s Farmer Rancher Grant Program is a competitive grants program for farmers and ranchers who want to explore sustainable solutions to problems through on-farm research, demonstration, and education projects.

Farmers and ranchers have a critical insight when it comes to improving their systems. Whether they need to limit off-farm inputs, reduce erosion, create more time for family or community activities, learn marketing skills, or find other ways to enhance their livelihoods, farmers and ranchers can turn to the North Central Region SARE (NCR-SARE) for grant opportunities and information. In 1992, NCR-SARE began a competitive Farmer Rancher Grant Program exclusively to fund farmers and ranchers striving for agricultural sustainability.

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

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. There are three types of competitive grants:

  • Individual grants ($7,500 maximum)
  • Team of Two grants for two farmers/ranchers from separate and distinct operations who are working together ($15,000 maximum)
  • Group grants for three or more farmers/ranchers from separate and distinct operations who are working together ($22,500 maximum)

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • A farmer/rancher 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.
  • Farmers and ranchers submitting grant proposals may be just beginning the transition to a more sustainable operation or may already be using sustainable practices and want to implement additional changes.
  • 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.
  • Grant recipients may participate in one Individual grant and one Team of Two or Group grant annually.
  • Previous farmer/rancher grant recipients are eligible to apply if reports from previous grant projects are up to date.
  • Grant funds are for research, demonstration, and education projects only.


  • Grant funds are not for day-to-day farming expenses or business start-up.

    Grant funds cannot be used for construction and remodeling of buildings, or to buy motorized vehicles, but these items may be leased or rented with grant funds, if they are needed for the project.