View this email in your browser
March 2021

Now Accepting Proposals

The calls for 2021 Partnership and Graduate Student Research Grant proposals are now open.

Partnership Grant

Partnership Grants fund research, demonstration and education projects conducted by professionals working in direct partnership with farmers.
Award maximum: $30,000.
Proposals due: April 13, 2021.
Apply Today

Graduate Student Research Grant Program

This program funds research conducted by Northeast graduate students, addressing a full range of sustainable agriculture topics relevant to Northeast farmers.
Award maximum: $15,000.
Proposals are due: April 27, 2021.
Apply Today

Seeking Reviewers for Graduate Student Research Grant Proposals

We are currently recruiting individuals interested in reviewing proposals for this coming round of the Graduate Student Research Grant program. This program receives a wide variety of rigorous research proposals, so we invite scientists with a range of expertise related to sustainable farm and food systems to consider serving as proposal reviewers. We estimate the time commitment for serving on a review panel to be 16-24 hours during May and early June. This is a great opportunity to gain insight into what young agricultural researchers in our region are studying, support their work by providing feedback on their proposals, become more familiar with SARE, and network with other colleagues interested in sustainable agriculture. If interested or to learn more, contact associate director Heather Omand at

Missed the Partnership Grant Webinar? Recording & Slides Available

Grant coordinator Candice Huber and Partnership Grant recipient Sam Anderson of Cornell Cooperative Extension shared information about the ins and outs of Partnership Grants in a March 2 webinar. The recording and presentation slides are posted at:

New England Project Helps Farmers Sift through Labor Legalese to Get Work Done

Many farms rely on interns and volunteers in addition to their employees to perform farm labor. And becoming a farm intern or apprentice is a great way to gain hands-on farming experience. But sometimes it is not clear if an individual working on the farm is considered an employee or not in the eyes of the law. Mistakes in worker classification can have downstream effects—like owing back wages, taxes and penalties—that impact the farm’s bottom line. So, in an effort to help farmers be proactive when looking for labor while supporting farm internships, Jennifer Hashley of the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project in Boston, MA conducted a Northeast SARE Partnership Grant project on legal guidelines for on-farm labor and learning. The project team reviewed existing materials to identify gaps in information on on-farm experiential learning opportunities. They offered a number of workshops for farmers around New England on farm labor law considerations. They also partnered with Farm Commons to publish “Getting Work Done” guides for each New England state aimed at clarifying legal definitions and criteria for classifying farm workers.

Graduate Student Studies Spiders in Drainage Ditches

Above: Pardosa Milvina, a species of wolf spider (photo credit: Pascal Gruener/
Left: Dylan Kutz (photo courtesy of Dylan Kutz).
Spiders were the focus of a Northeast SARE Graduate Student Research Grant project conducted by University of Maryland student Dylan Kutz. He was interested in studying these undervalued yet important sources of natural insect control. Kutz said, “Spiders are the most abundant natural enemy that occur in most agroecosystems and are estimated to globally consume around 3 trillion prey items in croplands each year.” Kutz was particularly interested in the movement of spiders from drainage ditches into neighboring soybean fields. Because ditches are generally less disturbed than the croplands they border, Kutz suggested they may provide habitats for spiders throughout the growing season and thereby support important conservation biological control for farms. In seeking to understand the kinds and abundance of spiders living in drainage ditches and the extent to which they colonize nearby farmland from these ditches, Kutz collected and identified 634 spiders during a single growing season and was able to monitor their movement to and from ditches and the adjacent soybean fields where he conducted his study.

Northeast SARE awards $4.8 million in sustainable agriculture grants

Northeast SARE’s Administrative Council recently approved 56 projects for funding, totaling $4,828,569. These include 29 Farmer Grant projects, totaling $352,241, on topics like spotted lanternfly control, mushroom production considerations, financial feasibility of African eggplant production, growing dahlias, aquaculture, developing visual learning resources for deaf farmers, composting and many more. The Farmer Grant projects that will start during 2021 are listed on our website.

Ten Research and Education projects were awarded, totaling $1,897,115, and ten Research for Novel Approaches in Sustainable Agriculture projects were awarded, totaling $1,669,729. These projects will address a wide range of issues including bumble bee health, farm succession for Black farmers, cover crops and soil health, livestock nutrition, hemp genetics, urban farming IPM, and ethnic crop production for Black communities, among others. In addition, seven Professional Development projects were awarded, totaling $909,484, to conduct train-the-trainer activities on topics like tribal agriculture; farm business management; farmland tenure; and diversity, equity and inclusion. See the list of these awarded projects on our website.

New Resource: Online Tool Helps Farmers Make Cover Crop Decisions

The Northeast Cover Crops Council (NECCC) created an online Cover Crop Decision Support Tool designed to support farm decision-making around cover crops. It includes a Cover Crop Explorer that provides in-depth information on more than 35 cover crop species. It also has a Species Selector that assists users in selecting individual cover crops based on plant hardiness zones, field soil and growing conditions, and cover cropping goals. Check it out at:

NECCC is a group of farmers, researchers, Extension educators and personnel from nonprofits and industry that encourages the adoption of cover crops by fostering the exchange of information, inspiration and outcome-based research. The Council was formed with support from a Northeast SARE Professional Development Program grant. With this and other USDA funding, the project team collaborated with USDA’s ARS and Natural Resources Conservation Service, Agricultural Informatics Lab and Precision Sustainable Agriculture to design the online tool. 

Northeast SARE offers competitive grants and sustainable agriculture education in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

Our 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. SARE is funded by USDA NIFA. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Northeast SARE

140 Kennedy Drive, Suite 202
South Burlington, Vermont 05403
Not interested in Northeast SARE mailings? Unsubscribe from this list.

Share SARE! Share this email with a friend.
Before forwarding this email, remove text after *** to avoid
being inadvertently removed from our mailing list.