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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 August 2020


  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 has been 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?

Need assistance with your grant proposal?

Information specialists can answer questions, highlight resources, and share search techniques for literature reviews, background research, and identifying experts in the field and pertinent USDA researchers and projects. AFSIC has a number of resources on its Website that may be relevant to your proposal.


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

Also see: Sustainable Agriculture Research Funding Resources

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Writing A Grant Proposal

Writing a Successful Grant
Individual SARE Regions offer FAQs, grant writing tips, tutorials, videos, and other helpful materials.
Contact your Regional or State SARE SARE office,

Proposal Writer's Guide
Christine Black
University of Michigan

Scientific Writing Resources
USDA, Agricultural Research Service

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Starting On-farm Research

10 Steps for On-Farm Research Success.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Conducting On-Farm Research. [Video series]
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
"A series of videos on how to use on-farm research to test and analyze problems on a small scale before making widespread changes."

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

Grower's Guide to On-Farm Research
Nebraska On-Farm Research Network

How to Conduct Research on Your Farm or Ranch
Sustainable Agriculture Network, updated 2017.
This 32-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/researcher networks, and resources for market research.

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)

Systems Research
Southern Region Sustainable Agriculture and Education (SARE)

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?
Search the national database of funded SARE projects at

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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