I would like farmers to be aware of this program in Nebraska.  For the past 24 years the SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) program has made available Farmer/Rancher (Producer) grants.  In Nebraska we are part of the North Central Region so farmers and ranchers compete with farmers and ranchers from 11 other states in this region.  Over the years in Nebraska we have received 61 grants for a total of over $375,000.  A farmer or a rancher can apply for a grant to use on their farm and can receive a maximum of $7,500, two farmers from different operations can apply together for a grant and receive up to $15,000 for a project and a group of producers (3 or more) can apply together for a grant and receive up to $22,500 for their project. This program is focused on providing support to farmers and ranchers that are striving for agricultural sustainability.  These proposals are due Dec. 7, 2017.  Farmer Rancher grants are to be submitted on-line.          
What type of projects will this program fund?  They are looking for proposals that will address specific issues on farms.  A recently funded project conducted in south central Nebraska addressed the use of cover crops in no-till production under irrigation.  Another rancher is looking at agri-tourism as a way to diversify their ranching operation.  A recent Nebraska project was funded to investigate the feasibility of growing canola, pressing the seed for oil and then recycling the used canola oil for use as a fuel.  Another Nebraska farmer/rancher grant experimented with aquaponics to grow vegetable greens and fish in urban Omaha.  These grants are for farmers and ranchers to conduct on-farm research and education projects that explore and advance sustainable agriculture.    A proposal can build on something that has already been investigated or address something new.  It is important not to submit a proposal on something that has already been done.  If you are interested in learning more about the SARE Farmer Rancher Grant Program, go to this website: http://www.northcentralsare.org/Grants/Our-Grant-Programs/Farmer-Rancher-Grant-Program.  You can access all the information you need including an application for the grant, the guidelines, requirements, call for proposal and information on previously funded grants.  Projects address many issues in alternative or diversified agricultural enterprises, including methods of grass-based meat goat production, use of flames for non-chemical weed control, use of wind and solar energy for water development and supplemental power for home and shop, using meat goats to control sericea lespedeza and prairie restoration to use for agritourism and education.  These are just a few of the previously funded projects. This past year, Dean and Deb Stevens from Richardson County Nebraska received a Farmer/Rancher Grant.  The focus of their project was more efficient use of nitrogen (N) by their corn crop.  With the use of a drone with a sensor, they determined the N requirements of the growing corn crop and developed a N prescription map for the corn field and then applied N with an airplane to the field.  Crop yields and nitrogen use efficiency will be determined for the corn.  
This project will be repeated and expanded with another farmer in 2018.  There are usually about 200 applications of which about 50 are funded each year in the North Central Region.  You can contact Joan Benjamin, the Project Coordinator in the Farmer/Rancher Grant Program in the North Central Region at 573-681-5545 or 800-529-1342 or BenjaminJ@lincolnu.edu for information on this grant program.  You can also contact me at (402) 274-4755 or glesoing2@unl.edu if you have questions.  I am the Nebraska State SARE Coordinator so I am very familiar with this program.  There are also youth educator grants available for $2000.  These are due on November 2nd, 2017.  If you have kids that may be interested or know of a 4-H leader or Voc Ag instructor that maybe interested, they can contact me at the phone number listed above.  Nebraska has been successful in receiving several of these youth educator grants the past few years.