Funding opportunities

1890 National Scholars Program

USDA is accepting scholarship applications for the 1890 National Scholars Program. This partnership between USDA and the 1890 historically black land-grant colleges and universities aims to increase the number of minority students studying agriculture, food, natural resource sciences, and other agriculture-related disciplines. The program provides full tuition, fees, books, room, and board to students pursuing degrees in agriculture, food, natural resource sciences, or related academic disciplines. When the student has completed the academic and summer work requirements of the scholarship, USDA may at its discretion convert the student to a permanent employee without further competition. All application materials must be postmarked by April 30, 2019.


Minnesota AGRI Dairy Farm Improvement Grant

The AGRI Dairy Farm Improvement Grant assists dairy producers in maximizing their profitability through investments necessary to produce Grade A milk. Eligible applicants must be principal operators of dairy cow operations that are currently producing Grade B milk or are Grade A milk producers who need to make capital or operational improvements to ensure continued compliance with the Grade A requirements. This grant program only reimburses the cost of equipment, services, or physical improvements. Minnesota Department of Agriculture anticipates awarding at least 25 grants totaling $250,000. The minimum grant award is $1,000 and the maximum is $10,000 per eligible applicant. Applications are due by May 1, 2019.


New Hampshire Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

The New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food is accepting applications for the New Hampshire Specialty Crops Grant Program to conduct projects that benefit New Hampshire Specialty Crops. Projects may focus on addressing local, regional, and national challenges confronting specialty crop producers, including topics such as Food Safety, Pest and Disease Prevention and Control, Technology Development; Research and Development Relevant to Specialty Crops; Industry Promotion and Marketing; or Expanding Availability and Access to Specialty Crops. The application deadline is May 1, 2019.


Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture is accepting applications for the 2019 Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI). Projects should solve critical organic agriculture issues, priorities, or problems through the integration of research, education, and extension activities. Total funding of $20 million is available for fiscal year 2019. This program funds high-priority integrated projects that will enhance the ability of producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards to grow and market high-quality organic agricultural products. Nine priorities are listed in the Request for Applications, available online. Applications are due by May 2, 2019.


Southern SARE Small Ruminant Research

Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) has released a special grant call for research teams interested in small ruminant production. The Large Systems Research Grant is intended for systems research teams who have established expertise in sustainable meat goat production and marketing across the Southern region. Grants can be up to three years with additional three-year grant extensions. Projects should address factors that limit large-scale production of goat meat in the region, such as availability of arable land, best forage species, best management practices, costs of nutrition, and restrictions on marketing and processing. Proposals are due by May 3, 2019.


Southern SARE Graduate Student Grant

The Southern Region USDA Program on Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) is accepting proposals for Graduate Student research projects that address issues of sustainable agriculture of current and potential importance to the Southern region and the nation. The program grants a one-time project maximum of $16,500. Projects may last up to two years. Applicants must be enrolled full-time at an accredited college or university in the Southern region. Proposals are due by May 3, 2019.


Ohio Specialty Crop Promotion Program

Ohio Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for funding to enhance the competitiveness of Ohio specialty crops. It is the intent that all funding will be used to advance the long-term economic and viability of Ohio's specialty crop industry while increasing the marketability of specialty crops. Grant awards will range from a minimum of $25,000 up to a maximum of $150,000. Food and agricultural non-profit organizations, cooperatives, associations or commodity groups, universities, and research institutions that represent specific specialty crop sectors are eligible to apply. Applications must be submitted online by May 3, 2019.


Northeast SARE Graduate Student Grants

Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) is accepting proposals for Graduate Student Grants. The Northeast SARE Graduate Student Research Grant Program funds projects that explore one or more of the sustainable agriculture themes of environmental stewardship, farm profitability, and quality of life for farmers and the farm community. Successful applicants will receive up to $15,000 for their research projects. The grant program is open to any graduate student enrolled at an accredited college, university, or veterinary school located in the Northeast Region. Proposals are due by May 7, 2019.


Michigan Value-Added Grant Program

The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) is offering a grant opportunity to promote the expansion of value-added agriculture production, processing, and access within the state to enhance Michigan's food and agriculture industry. MDARD will accept proposals that are intended to establish, retain, expand, attract, and/or develop value-added agricultural processing in Michigan; expand or develop regional food systems; or expand access to healthy food. Grants will be awarded a maximum amount of $125,000, and applicants must provide a minimum 30% match. Proposals are due May 8, 2019.


Monarch Butterfly and Pollinators Conservation Fund

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is soliciting proposals to advance pollinator conservation. The goal of the Monarch Butterfly and Pollinators Conservation Fund is to protect, conserve, and increase habitat for the monarch butterfly and other pollinators. The Pollinator Fund will award up to $1.6 million in grants in 2019: up to $1.2 million for Technical Assistance for Private Working Lands and up to $440,000 for Habitat Improvement. East of the Rocky Mountains, priority will be given to projects within the monarch butterfly's eastern migratory flyway. In the West, priority will be given to projects on or adjacent to working lands, important monarch butterfly overwintering sites, and U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands. Pre-proposals are due by May 9, 2019.


Acer Access and Development Program

USDA has $4 million available through the Acer Access and Development Program to support the efforts of states, tribal governments, and research institutions to promote the domestic maple syrup industry. The program also supports Producer and Landowner Education projects to advance producer knowledge, awareness, and understanding of research, educational resources, or natural-resource sustainability practices affecting the maple syrup industry and its products. Applications are due by May 10, 2019.


Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grants

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the federal-state Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) partnership, is soliciting proposals to restore water quality and habitats of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributary rivers and streams. NFWF will competitively award funding under the Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction program to partnership projects that simultaneously (1) cultivate the growth and maturation of existing regional-scale partnerships with a shared focus on water quality restoration and protection, and (2) measurably accelerate the geographic scale and/or rate of implementation for priority water quality improvement practices. Special consideration will be afforded to proposed partnerships or networks that address selected strategies, including Managing Upland Agricultural Runoff through Farm-Scale Conservation Systems and Solutions. Pre-proposals are due by May 14, 2019.


Organic Transitions Program

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture is accepting applications for the Integrated Research, Education,and Extension Competitive Grants Program — Organic Transitions to solve critical organic agriculture issues, priorities, or problems. Approximately $5.8 million will be available. Budgets may not exceed $200,000 per year with the total amount awarded not to exceed $500,000. Applications may only be submitted by colleges and universities. Funding priorities are listed online. Applications are due by May 16, 2019.


Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture is accepting applications for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). This program supports the delivery of education, mentoring, and technical-assistance programs to help beginning farmers and ranchers in the United States and its territories with entering, establishing, building, and managing successful farm and ranch enterprises. Standard grants, Educational Team grants, and funding for a Curriculum and Training Clearinghouse are available. Applications may only be submitted by a collaborative state, tribal, local, or regionally-based network or partnership of qualified public and/or private entities, which may include the following: State Cooperative Extension Services; Federal, State, municipal or tribal agencies; community based organizations; nongovernmental organizations; junior and four-year colleges or universities or foundations maintained by a college or university; and private for-profit organizations. Inclusion of beginning and/or non-beginning farmers and ranchers as part of the collaborative group is strongly encouraged. Approximately $14 million is available. Applications are due by May 16, 2019.


Western SARE Research & Education Grants

Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) is accepting pre-proposals for Research & Education Grants. Projects should addresses a critical need in sustainable agriculture in the Western region. Projects must contain both research and education components and involve agricultural producers from inception to finish in the planning, design, implementation, and educational outreach. Total funds requested may not exceed $350,000 over the entire budget period, which may extend to three years. Pre-proposals are due May 28, 2019.


Priority Nutrient Management Practices in Western Lake Erie Basin

The Environmental Protection Agency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development are providing funds for farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin to implement new nutrient-management practices. This program will provide cost-share up to $15,000 for farmers to try practices such as grid/zone sampling, variable-rate application or subsurface placement, yield-monitor calibration, and evaluation of nutrient management. Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis through local Conservation Districts.


North Dakota Honey Bee Research and Promotion

North Dakota Department of Agriculture is seeking grant proposals for research into finding practical solutions to honey bee health issues and for honey promotion and outreach projects. Approximately $130,000 is available. Research priorities are Varroa mite control, understanding honey bee viruses and effects on honey bee health, correlating pathogen presence to management practices, and other problem-solving ideas of interest to the beekeeping industry. Grant applications must be received by May 31, 2019.


Conservation Innovation Grants in Arkansas

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for Conservation Innovation Grants in Arkansas. Approximately $300,000 is available through the program to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies within Arkansas. Project proposals should demonstrate the use of innovative technologies or approaches to address a natural resource concern. For FY 2019, Arkansas NRCS will consider offering grants in the following areas: nutrient and sediment reduction in impaired watersheds; high tunnels; organic; irrigation; soil health; and adoption of cover crops in rice rotations. Individual matching grant awards may not exceed $75,000. Applications must be submitted by May 31, 2019.


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