Northeast SARE: Farmer Grants

Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education

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Grant amount: US $15,000

Deadline: Dec 3, 2019 2:00pm PST

Applicant type: Nonprofit Individuals

Funding uses: Research

Location of project: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts Show all

Location of residency: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts Show all

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Farmer Grants are for commercial producers who have an innovative idea they want to test using a field trial, on-farm demonstration, marketing initiative, or other technique. A technical advisor--often an extension agent, crop consultant, or other service professional--must also be involved. Projects should seek results other farmers can use, and all projects must have the potential to add to our knowledge about effective sustainable practices.

The goal of the Farmer Grant program is to help farmers explore new sustainable production and marketing practices, often through an experiment, trial, or on-farm demonstration. SARE defines practices as being sustainable when they are profitable, environmentally sound, and beneficial to the wider farm community.

The funding is competitive and only projects that promise the greatest benefit to farms and farmers will be awarded a grant. Successful proposals define a problem or opportunity and offer solutions or test new ideas. These ideas may come to you as you go about the daily work of managing your farm business, and should reflect the concerns and the barriers to sustainability specific to crops or products in your area.

There are no set restrictions on content—you can experiment with a new crop or production method, develop a machine or tool that does something new, try out a pest control or grazing technique, explore adding value, test a new way of marketing directly to the public, improve the skills of immigrant workers and those who manage them, or address issues related to farm labor and apprentices. These are just examples—the scope of the program is broad. 

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


  • You must be a farm business owner or manager in the Northeast SARE region.
  • It is not necessary that you farm full time, but the primary activity of your farm must be to produce and sell agricultural products.
  • You must run a commercial operation with an established annual farm income of at least $1,000 from the harvest and sale of crop, nursery, livestock, greenhouse, or aquaculture products that you sell on a regular basis.
  • There is a limit of one application per farm per year.
  • Grant funds can be used to pay for your time and time that your employees work on the project, materials services like testing and consulting, travel, outreach expenses, equipment rental, and other project -related costs.
  • Managers on farms affiliated with an institution or a nonprofit organization are eligible to apply, but only if the primary activity of the farm is to produce and sell agricultural products under the kinds of economic constraints that affect commercial farmers.
    • Applicants who are farm managers rather than the farm owner/operator need to complete an application signoff sheet, available on request from [email protected]
  • Farms affiliated with institutions or organizations should apply using the name that appears on their 501(c) (3).
  • If you want to be sure if you are qualified to apply for this grant, read our document on What is a farm,
  • Northeast SARE programs are offered to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or familial status.


  • Grant funds can’t be used to pay for normal operating expenses:
    • Costs that would be there in the absence of the project
    • For farm start-up or expansion expenses like for the cost of buying land, tractors, livestock, machinery, or long-term improvements like barns, high tunnels, or greenhouses.
  • Farms where the primary mission is education or research are not eligible.
  • You need not be farming full time, but the grants are not intended for gardeners or hobby farmers.