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Applying for a SARE Grant?

Compiled by:
Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC)
National Agricultural Library (NAL)
U.S. Department of Agriculture
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Reviewed April 2016


  1. AFSIC Services for Applicants
  2. Writing a Grant Proposal
  3. Starting On-farm Research
  4. The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program


Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC)

AFSIC specializes in locating, collecting, and providing information about sustainable agriculture. The Center is located at the National Agricultural Library (NAL) and is supported, in part, by USDA's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program.

Our guide, Where to Find Sustainable Agricultural Research Online, identifies electronic databases you can use to answer questions frequently asked by SARE grant applicants:

  • Who else is working in my topic area?
  • Has my project been attempted before?
  • Are there related research efforts that I might link with?
  • Where are the best places to look for in-progress and recent research?

We can assist when you conduct literature reviews and background research for your grant proposal. Contact us at:

Alternative Farming Systems Information Center
National Agricultural Library
U.S. Department of Agriculture
10301 Baltimore Avenue, Room 123
Beltsville, MD 20705-2351
(301) 504-6559; fax: (301) 504-6927
Ask a Question. (Select the Topical Area: Alternative Farming.)

Also see: Sustainable Agriculture Research Funding Resources

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Writing A Grant Proposal

Writing a Successful Grant
Individual SARE Regions offer grant writing tips, tutorials, videos, and other helpful materials.
North Central SARE,
Southern SARE,
Western SARE,

Grant Application Tools
Northeast Region SARE
Information includes: how-to-write guides; tip sheets for Farmer Grant technical advisors; how to verify project results; and how to do on-farm research.

Help with Your Partnership Grant Application
Northeast Region SARE
Includes webinar on how to write a Partnership Grant.

How to Write a SARE Farmer Grant Application
by David Holm, Helen Husher, and Dale Riggs
Northeast Region SARE Factsheet and Webinar available from:

Outcome Measurement and Grant Writing
by Murari Suvedi and Ben Bartlett
Michigan State University (PDF|116 kb)

Proposal Writer's Guide
Don Thackrey
University of Michigan

Proposal Writing Short Course
The Foundation Center

Scientific Writing Resources
USDA, Agricultural Research Service

Tips to Writing a Successful Proposal
Southern Region SARE

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Starting On-farm Research

NAL's AGRICOLA database

Select each of the links below to start an automated search of NAL's AGRICOLA database that will retrieve a list of materials about on-farm research. [Note: there may be a short delay while the search is processing.]

AGRICOLA contains two bibliographic data sets that, together, represent the Library's collection. The Online Public Access Catalog, or “NAL Catalog,” contains citations to books, audiovisual materials, serial publications, and other materials. The Article Citation Database, known as “Journal Articles” includes citations, many with abstracts, to journal articles, book chapters, reports, and reprints. AGRICOLA does include some bibliographic records for items cataloged by other libraries and not owned by NAL. The Library's Document Delivery Services Branch provides information on how to obtain materials.

Other Resources

A Field Guide for On-farm Research Experiments
North Carolina A&T State University Cooperative Extension (PDF|5.17 MB)

On-Farm Research Guide
by Jane Sooby
Organic Farming Research Foundation
This guide provides an overview of on-farm research using the scientific method: “formulating a hypothesis, testing the hypothesis with experimentation, and drawing a conclusion based on the data.” (PDF|93 KB)

Put Your Ideas to the Test: How to Conduct Research on Your Farm or Ranch
Sustainable Agriculture Network, updated 2004.
This 12-page bulletin outlines how to conduct research on a farm or ranch. Describes real-life examples and gives practical tips for both crop and livestock producers. A comprehensive list of more in-depth resources describes on-farm research bulletins and reports, farmer or researcher networks, and resources for market research.

Systems Research Methods Handbook
by Rick Welsh and Keith Ingram
Southern Region Sustainable Agriculture and Education (SARE)

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Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)

SARE Funding Opportunities

What Project Ideas Have Received Funding?
You can search the national database of funded SARE projects at by keyword, title and project number.

SARE Regions

North Central

  • Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin


  • Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia


  • Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands


  • Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Micronesia, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, N. Mariana Islands, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

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