Apr 24, 2023
USDA invests in sustainable ag research, education

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today an investment of more than $46 million in the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, which has offered farmer-driven, grassroots grants and education programs that have brought new ideas to farms and ranches in every state and island protectorate since 1988.

“This investment in sustainable agriculture underscores USDA’s ongoing commitment to transforming our food and agricultural systems,” said Chavonda Jacobs-Young, USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics. “Through this investment, SARE will continue to provide competitive grants and education programs that foster farmer-driven innovation to promote climate-smart practices, make sustainable producers more profitable, and improve local economies and the quality of life in rural communities.”


These 10-year awards are being made by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) in four regional SARE host institutions and the National Reporting, Coordinating, and Communications Office (NRCCO). Grant recipients are the University of Minnesota (North Central SARE Regional Host Institution); University of Vermont (Northeast SARE Regional Host Institution); University of Georgia (Southern SARE Regional Host Institution); Montana State University (Western SARE Regional Host Institution); and University of Maryland (NRCCO).

Since its authorization in the 1990 Farm Bill, SARE has supported farmers in four regions (North Central, Northeast, South, West) with each regional program hosted by Land-grant Institutions. Each region is guided by volunteer Administrative Councils that make grants and set regional priorities. These councils include farmers and ranchers along with representatives from universities, government, agribusiness and nonprofit organizations. Technical reviewers, also volunteers, lend professional and practical experience to help councils evaluate project proposals.

“Sustainable agriculture is a high priority for NIFA across many of our programs as we seek to provide more profitable farm income, promote environmental stewardship and enhance quality of life for farm families and communities,” said Dionne Toombs, acting director of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. “In the last 35 years, with funding from NIFA, SARE has provided $380 million in grant funding for nearly 8,400 projects serving farmers, growers and rural communities.”

These projects cover a wide range of topics, including on-farm renewable energy, pest and weed management, pastured livestock and rotational grazing, no-till and conservation tillage, cover crops, high tunnel and session extension, crop rotations, marketing, sustainable communities, integrated systems, pollinators, local and regional food systems, and small ruminants.

REE advances agricultural research, education, and Extension across the nation to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA invests in initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture and applies an integrated approach to ensure that groundbreaking discoveries in agriculture-related sciences and technologies reach the people who can put them into practice. In FY2022, NIFA’s total investment was $2.2 billion.

For more information, visit NIFA’s website: www.nifa.usda.gov; Twitter: @USDA_NIFA; LinkedIn: USDA-NIFA. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural science (searchable by state or keyword), visit www.nifa.usda.gov/impacts.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

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