Cover photo for Southern SARE Producer Grant

Southern SARE Producer Grant

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education

Closed November 10, 2023

Recognizing the value and importance of on-the-farm, producer experience in developing solutions to agricultural production challenges, the SSARE Producer Grant program was established in 1994 to give farmers the opportunity to conduct their own research projects. The competitive research grants program is intended to help farmers and ranchers develop sustainable production and marketing practices. The goal of the grant program is for farmers/ranchers to conduct projects to solve challenges and problems they face, and develop information on what works and doesn’t work so that other farmers and ranchers facing those same problems can benefit from the results of the funded project.


Producer Grants are open to individual farmers/ranchers or farmer organizations. Only one proposal may be submitted per grant cycle. Primary occupation is farming or ranching or the applicant is a part-time producer. At least $1,000 of annual income from the operation must be documented. Farmer organizations should be comprised primarily of farmers/ranchers and must have a majority farmer representation on their governing board. There are no restrictions on farm size or the length of time an applicant has been farming. Producer Grants, however, are designed for farmers already established in their farming operation, and not be beginning farmers or ranchers.


Producer Grant proposals must meet the following basic requirements in order to be considered for funding:

  • The proposal must be submitted from an individual farmer/rancher or farmer/rancher organization, such as a cooperative. Proposals from NGOs, other community groups or researchers are not accepted.

  • Primary occupation is farming/ranching or part-time farming. Producers run their farm alone or with family or partners and have a least $1,000 of documented annual income from the operation.

  • The proposed project addresses production and marketing issues that promote sustainable agriculture.

  • The proposal addresses a research project; Producer Grants are not designed to pay a farmer to “farm.”

  • Projects must include at least one cooperator. They can be other farmers, researchers, extension agents, governmental or non-governmental organizations, or others who cooperate in project planning, data collection and outreach of results.

  • The proposed project satisfies the requirements of allowable expenses.

  • An outreach component is identified in the proposal. Outreach allows the farmer to share his/her project outcomes with the greater farming community.

Application Instructions

Apply online here when the grant is open.

Southern SARE Producer Grants are competitive. Each year SARE receives more grant proposals than SARE has monies to award funding. Here are some suggestions that might aid in strengthening your proposal:

  • Follow the instructions in the Call for Proposal. Failure to follow directions or omit any required information will result in your proposal being rejected.

  • Make sure your proposal falls in one of the following focus areas: Beneficial insects, alternative crops/animals, organic agriculture, sustainable marketing projects, sustainable grazing systems, soil health or water quality, appropriate technology, agroforestry, or increasing sustainability of existing farming practices.

  • Only one Producer Grant is allowed by the farmer applicant per grant cycle. If you have more than one idea, SARE recommends you select your best proposal for submission, and save your other ideas for future submissions.

  • Thoroughly research your project before applying. You may have a great idea for a project, but the research related to the topic may already be well established. SARE looks for projects that are new, innovative, generate results that are useful beyond one year and produce information that many farmers can use.

  • Successful projects include clear goals and objectives. Due to the small size of the Producer Grants, SARE recommends developing no more than three (3) objectives in order to complete your project.

  • SARE encourages collaboration and partnerships on grant projects. Cooperators help complement your skills. When you enlist the cooperation of people who have expertise in areas that you don’t, they’ll strengthen your project. Make sure to include cooperators from universities, Cooperative Extension, NGOs, community organizations, or other farmers to add value to your project.

  • Make sure you include an outreach plan. Outreach plans can include field days, educational resources, how-to videos, publications, workshops, or presentations are conferences to share research results with other farmers.

  • Don’t wait until the last minute to begin your proposal and to submit it to the SARE Grants Management online system. The deadline for proposal submissions is firm. Anticipate technological glitches, budget issues, user error or other issues that might cause delays.

  • Be clear on the “what”, “why”, and “who cares” of your research project and how it pertains to sustainable agriculture. This is generally outlined in the “Statement of Problem” portion of your proposal. This is your “hook” for reviewers. Remember, they get to know you through your proposal. Tell your story.

  • Seek assistance from other individuals or organizations in writing and reviewing your grant.


Release Date

September 1, 2022


November 10, 2023

Financial Instrument


Maximum Award Amount


Updated March 26, 2024

Image Credit: United Soybean Board

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