NCR-SARE: Graduate Student Grant Program

North Central Region SARE

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Grant amount: US $12,000

Deadline: Apr 9, 2020 2:00pm PDT

Applicant type: Graduate Student

Funding uses: Research

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

Location of residency: United States

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About this funder:



NOTE: Submission deadlines for NCR-SARE's Graduate Student Program grants are unchanged as of 3/16/2020. However, in light of COVID-19 complications for grants office staffing and other considerations, we are allowing a grace period of up to one week on submission of proposals. Contact the grant program coordinator if circumstances are preventing you from submitting your proposal by the published deadline.

SARE is the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, a competitive USDA NIFA grants program funded by Congress. The North Central region (NCR) includes: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. NCR-SARE strengthens communities, increases farmer/rancher profitability, and improves the environment by supporting research and education. Learn more about SARE at

The Graduate Student Grant Program is one of six NCR-SARE grant programs. The Graduate Student Grant Program provides funds to students enrolled in graduate programs or in veterinary medicine residence programs at accredited colleges or universities who are exploring some aspect of sustainable agriculture as part of their educational program. Proposals are to be written by the student who will coordinate and conduct the project, with input from her or his major adviser. The project must benefit the North Central Region.

In 2018, $180,000 will be available to fund about 15 grant projects. Individual grants are for $12,000 total, and can fund projects lasting up to 36 months. We received 56 applications in 2017 and funded 18 projects averaging $11,500, with durations ranging from 6 to 36 months.

Desired Outcomes for 2018 Graduate Student Projects 

Proposals need to address sustainable agriculture issues of importance to the North Central region. SARE funds applied projects that engage farmers/ranchers. NCR-SARE strongly encourages having farmers, ranchers, local organizations, or others who will use or benefit from the project involved in its planning, design, and implementation. This participation enhances the relevance and impact of a sustainable agriculture research or education project.

Successful projects should contribute to all three of the following NCR-SARE broad-based outcomes:
  • Improving the profitability of farmers/ranchers and associated agricultural businesses.
  • Sustaining and improving the environmental quality and natural resource base on which agriculture depends.
  • Enhancing the quality of life for farmers/ranchers, rural and urban communities, and society as a whole.
Proposals should clearly explain:
  • Expected outcomes for the project and how they will assist NCR-SARE in working toward the broadbased outcomes listed above.
  • How progress toward project outcomes will be monitored and evaluated.
  • Expected impact on farmers/ranchers, communities, and society as a whole.

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


  • The student must be officially registered as a graduate student or resident (according to his or her institution’s requirements) at the time the project begins.
  • A student is allowed to receive only one NCR-SARE Graduate Student grant during her or his student career. 
  • NCR-SARE funds MAY be used for the following purposes:
    • Supplies, including software.
    • Labor (this includes wages or salary and benefits, other than tuition, for the student or other individuals working on the project).
    • Special reference books not readily available.
    • Farm equipment rental or operating charges.
    • Travel and per diem necessary for the project (use your university rules for travel expenses).
    • Payments for project participants (especially farmers and ranchers) who aren’t drawing salaries or wages from an employer while they’re working on your project.
    • A small amount of overhead or indirect costs; 10% is the maximum rate that may be used.


  • NCR-SARE and/or USDA have determined that NCR-SARE funds MAY NOT be used for the following purposes:
    • Payment of tuition.
    • Purchase of books used in the student’s courses.
    • Printing or copying of a thesis or final project paper.
    • Permanent capital improvements (e.g., land, buildings, etc.).
    • Purchase of motorized vehicles.
    • Equipment (see note in budget section)