NCR-SARE: Professional Development Grant Program

North Central Region SARE

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Grant amount: US $30,000 - US $75,000

Deadline: Apr 2, 2020

Applicant type: Faculty Working Professional

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Training / Capacity Building, Conference

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

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

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About this funder:



The USDA’s North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) program invites proposals for the Professional Development Program (PDP). Proposals must be targeted to educators within the Cooperative Extension Service (CES), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), other governmental agencies, and/or educators and other relevant personnel in the non-profit and for-profit sectors serving farmers and ranchers. Projects can be for up to 36 months in duration. Involvement of educators from more than one state is appropriate but not required.

The overall desired outcome of NCR-SARE PDP is to have educators (extension, NRCS, NGO, agency staff and other agricultural educators) who are knowledgeable in the general concepts of sustainable agriculture, and who work in partnership with farmers, ranchers, and others on developing programs and activities that enhance the sustainability of communities and the food and agricultural system.

Projects are capped at $75,000 in total funding, although applications of lesser amount are welcomed. We expect to have approximately $450,000 in funding for this cycle of PDP competitive grants.

The North Central PDP utilizes an outcome-based approach for funding its educational programs. Each project funded by SARE PDP is asked to identify short, intermediate, and long-term expected outcomes directly associated with their professional development project. In the short-term, PDP projects should result in an increase in the awareness, knowledge and motivation of educators in the area of sustainable agriculture. In the intermediate term, these changes in knowledge and skills should result in changes in the behavior of educators, which includes educators developing and implementing formal and informal educational programs to assist farmers, ranchers, and others in shifting to sustainable agriculture systems. In the long-term, these changes should result in programs and activities that enhance the sustainability of agriculture and food systems (including rural community sustainability).

The NCR-SARE Program is committed to funding PDP projects that utilize participatory and experiential approaches to professional development. As stated above, projects are meant to provide professional development to agricultural educators, but preferably involve diverse groups and organizations (including non-profits, agribusiness, and 1890 and 1994 Land Grant institutions) in the planning, implementation and evaluation of the project. NCR-SARE particularly encourages the use, where appropriate, of farmers and ranchers in developing and delivering training. 

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


  • NCR-SARE PDP grants are open to all educators working on topics related to farming and ranching.
  • While our primary mission with the PDP programs is train-the-trainer projects that lead to improved sustainability for existing farmers and ranchers, we recognize that reaching young people who will become farmers and ranchers is also important.
    • Therefore, proposals addressing train-the-trainer activities for vo-tech agriculture teachers or other educators who impact youth, specifically youth with an interest in farming or ranching, will be considered for funding.
    • As with other proposals, youth-connected projects need to meet the relevancy test for sustainability and other guidelines for the PDP program.
  • Applicants are educators who often represent, but are not limited to, Extension, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and non-profit groups.
  • Projects can be for up to 36 months in duration.