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May 2020
From the Director

My excellent adventure in grants management

It took more than a decade, but I finally had to do some real work at SARE. To fill in during staff transitions, this winter I took a detour from my usual duties to manage some grants. That experience gave me deeper insight into why our program is so valuable. 

I came into the process after the slate of our larger grant programs—Research and Education, Professional Development and Research for Novel Approaches—had been approved by Northeast SARE’s Administrative Council. At this point, our grant coordinators meet with each project leader of these larger grants to share expectations around contracting, reporting and on-going support from SARE staff. We also discuss any suggestions that came from reviewers that may help increase the success of these projects. In this sense, Northeast SARE functions a bit like a foundation by serving as a partner in grantee success, not just as a source of money. 

Truth be told, I likely got more out of these conversations with grantees than they did. The passion for their work, depth of experience, and creativity that their projects embodied were inspiring. These conversations also reinforced the fact SARE opens the door for many different topics to be studied, an array of innovative farming practices to be promoted, and a diversity of audiences to be served. This results in some pretty cool projects.

For example, a fruit researcher has teamed up with an engineer to design and test small robots that travel over strawberry rows, delivering UV light to control diseases. A silvopasture group will perform ecological and economic comparisons of different tree-planting methods in pastures. A multi-state team will facilitate cohorts of livestock and vegetable producers to develop financial benchmarks to inform farm business decisions. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This year we also funded projects that will address farm stress management, create mentorships for beginning farmers, test new biological methods for managing diseases in turfgrass, find new ways to trap cucumber beetles in squash, and work on interseeding cover crops in sweet corn and small grains. You can find the list of awarded 2020 projects below.

We have just opened the 2021 calls for preproposals for these grant programs. Luckily for next year’s grantees, they will get to work with a real grant coordinator.

Northeast SARE now accepting preproposals, due July 23

Northeast SARE has released the 2021 Calls for Preproposals for the Research and Education, Research for Novel Approaches, and Professional Development and Grant Programs. Preproposals are due online by 5 p.m. ET on Thursday, July 23, 2020. Applicants selected to submit full proposals will be contacted in late August with full proposals due by Oct. 20. Projects awards will be made in late February 2021. Visit our website for more information, including how to apply.

The Research and Education Program funds applied research and farmer education projects on sustainable farming and food system topics. Projects must engage farmers as cooperators; aim for specific, measurable change in farm practices; and have a plan to verify results. Awards typically range from $30,000 to $250,000. 

Research for Novel Approaches in Sustainable Agriculture grants fund “proof of concept” applied research projects intended to confirm the benefit and/or feasibility of new practices and approaches that have high potential for adoption by farmers. Recipients will be awarded from $30,000 to $200,000.  

The Professional Development Program funds train-the-trainer projects that develop the knowledge, awareness, skills, and attitudes of agricultural and non-agricultural service providers about sustainable agriculture topics so that they can better teach, advise and assist farmers. Awards typically range from $30,000 to $150,000.

2020 Grant Awards

Congratulations to the newest recipients of Research and Education, Research for Novel Approaches, and Professional Development grants. The Northeast SARE Administrative Council awarded a total of $4.1 million to conduct the 28 projects listed below.  
Recipients of 2020 Research and Education Grants:

Useful Financial Benchmarks: Skills, Data and Peer-to-Peer Learning for Farm Success

Margaret Christie, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), So Deerfield, MA

Empowering Northeastern Strawberry Growers with Flower Mapping

Edward Durner, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Grain Storage Management Education for the Hudson Valley

Aaron Gabriel, Cornell University Cooperative Extension, Hudson Falls, NY

Implementing Rotational Grazing Practices on Livestock Operations in Maryland

Amanda Grev, University of Maryland, Keedysville, MD

Empowering Farmers to Comply with Food Safety Modernization Act Preventive Controls for Human Foods

Lisa Hall Zielinski, University of Scranton Small Business Development Center, Scranton, PA

Season Extension Strategies and Profitability in Dairy and Livestock Operations in New England

Masoud Hashemi, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA

Biological and Cultural Tactics for the Control of Wireworms in Root Crops

Victor Izzo, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT

Optimization of Preventative Biorational Strawberry Fruit and Root Disease Management Techniques

Mahfuz Rahman, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV

Improving Production and Yield of Winter Greens in the Northeast

Susan Scheufele, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA

Advancing Strawberry Production in the Northeast

Rebecca Sideman, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH

Environmental Constraints and Management Responses for Interseeding Cover Crops in Northeast Grain Rotations

John Wallace, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
Recipients of 2020 Research for Novel Approaches in Sustainable Agriculture Grants:

Silvopasture Pilot Project in Lancaster County, PA

Molly Cheatum, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Annapolis, MD

Creating an Ecofriendly Pest Suppression Program in Sweet Corn

Cerruti Hooks, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Reducing Water and Fertilizer Inputs by Incorporating Native Beneficial Bacteria in Sustainable Turfgrass Sod Production

Bingru Huang, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Managing Agricultural Drainage Ditches for Conservation Biological Control on the Delmarva Peninsula

William Lamp, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation as Pre-plant Treatment for Perennial Strawberry in the Northeast

Laura McDermott, Cornell University Cooperative Extension, Hudson Falls, NY

Designing and Building Centrifuges to Clarify Maple and Walnut Syrup

Michael Rechlin, Future Generations University, Frankin, WV

UV-C Light Application Technology for Field-Grown Strawberries to Control Fungal Diseases and Arthropod Pests

Fumiomi Takeda, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Kearneysville, WV

Enhancing the Safety of Eggs and Fresh Produce by Novel Ultra-fine Bubble Technology

Abhinav Upadhyay, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

Attract-and-Kill Strategies for Sustainable Striped Cucumber Beetle Management

Anna Wallingford, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH


Recipients of 2020 Professional Development Grants:

Developing Technical Skills of Service Providers in the Northeast to Assist Farmers with Production of Industrial Hemp

Heather Darby, University of Vermont, St. Albans, VT

Farm Stress Management and Resources for Maryland Service Providers

Shannon Dill, University of Maryland, Easton, MD

Building Efficacy and Financial Success among West Virginia Producers via Farmers Market Manager Education

Erica Gallimore, West Virginia Farmers Market Association, Charleston, WV

Farm Mentorship Training and Support Groups for Educators of Aspiring and Beginning Farmers

Jennifer Hashley, New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, Boston, MA


From Seed to Sale: Market-Driven High Tunnel Production Education for West Virginia Agricultural Providers

Lisa Jones, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV

The Northeast Climate Adaptation Fellowship to Support Fruit and Vegetable Producers

Rachel Schattman, University of Maine, Orono, ME

Maryland Extension Training: Solar Photovoltaic Options, Opportunities and Challenges

Drew Schiavone, University of Maryland, Keedysville, MD

Building Farm Financial Management Skills through Effective Distance Education

Seth Wilner, University of New Hampshire, Newport, NH
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
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