Ann Carnes at Wild Pansy Farm in Crothersville recently was awarded a $17,425 grant from the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program for the project “Leveraging Biodiversity to Improve Profitability on a Small-Scale Vegetable Farm.”
“This is a multi-farm venture to create biologically diverse compost from livestock bedding to improve soil health and profitability on small scale farms,” Carnes said.
This grant was awarded as part of the Farmer Rancher grant program, which is a competitive grants program for farmers and ranchers who want to explore sustainable solutions to problems through on-farm research, demonstration and education projects.
The focus for each of the grant programs is on research and education. Funding considerations are based on how well the applicant presents the problem being addressed, the project’s relevance to sustainable agriculture in the 12-state North Central region and how well it aligns with NCR-SARE’s goals, among other factors specific to each grant program.
Administrative Council members decide which projects will receive SARE funds. The council includes a mix of agricultural stakeholders in the region. Council members hail from regional farms and ranches, the Cooperative Extension Service, universities, federal agencies and nonprofits.
Since 1988, the SARE program has helped advance farming systems that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities through a nationwide research and education grants program. The program, part of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, funds projects and conducts outreach designed to improve agricultural systems.