NCR-SARE is a USDA-funded grant program whose mission is to strengthen communities, increase farmer/rancher profitability, and improve the environment by supporting research and education.
NCR-SARE’s Administrative Council is responsible for the operation of the NCR-SARE program by appointing a host institution, defining policy, issuing calls for grant proposals, and making decisions about funding proposals.
The NCR-SARE Administrative Council sets program priorities, approves the budget and makes proposal funding decisions for all grant programs. The eighteen members fill designated slots for three-year terms, a maximum of two terms. Position openings are advertised via press releases, and current AC members elect new members from nominations. Council members are expected to attend Council meetings (in-person February and July, throughout the region), review proposals and other materials distributed between meetings, and participate in NCR-SARE committees and occasional between-meeting conference calls.
Recommendations and self-nominations are welcome. To nominate yourself for a seat on the NCR-SARE Administrative Council, check with the NCR-SARE office to see which positions are open, and then submit the following information using our online form.
USDA-NIFA Beacon Complex
Kansas City, MO
Sector: SARE National Program Leader
Area of expertise: Agronomy; Plant Science
Term: Indefinite; Vance started as SARE National Program Leader in 2020
Administrative Council Committees
Each Administrative Council (AC) member is encouraged to be actively involved with at least one NCR-SARE Committee. “Official” committees are self-organized, but committees – especially ones that receive NCR-SARE financial resources – are expected to get approval for their membership rotation and officer selection process from the AC, and they are expected to report to the AC at least once per year. Most NCR-SARE committees have at least 50% of their members on the AC; non-AC members can be staff, NCR-SARE alumni, or others who can contribute to the committee’s work.
Current NCR-SARE committees:
- Alumni Steering Committee: This recently formed committee will help form an NCR-SARE Alumni Organization. The current plan is that the Alumni Organization would be somewhat independent of the NCR-SARE Administrative Council, but would report to and could request funds (used for purposes that meet NIFA and host guidelines) each year from the NCR-SARE Administrative Council.
- Communications Advisory Group: This committee advises the NCR-SARE Communication Specialist on communications issues.
- Diversity Committee: This committee oversees NCR-SARE’s effort to reach limited resource and socially disadvantaged audiences. The committee recommended funding of a proposal (two years, $100,000) to identify NCR-SARE’s barriers to reaching limited resource and socially disadvantaged audiences.
- Evaluation Committee: This committee is responsible for making sure that each NCR-SARE grant program is evaluated on a regular schedule. The Regional Coordinator, Associate Regional Coordinator, and PDP Coordinator are ex officio members of the committee.
- Executive Committee (EC): This committee acts on behalf of the AC between AC meetings. It consists of the AC Chair, AC vice-chair, TC Chair, two at-large members of the AC, Regional Coordinator (to serve as a non-voting, ex-officio member), and the PDP Coordinator (to serve as a non-voting, ex-officio member). The two at-large members are elected each year by the AC at the March AC meeting; a slate of candidates is presented by the nominating committee appointed by the AC chair. Once a vice-chair is elected, he or she rotates to the chair after a two-year term. Members are elected from AC membership. It is the intention to seek to reflect the diversity of the AC by including representation from Extension, experiment station, farmer-rancher, and at large members. The Regional Coordinator and the Regional PDP coordinator will also serve on the EC as ex-officio non-voting members. The EC will regularly share information with the AC.
- Farmer Rancher Grant Review Committee: This committee reviews Farmer Rancher grant proposals (currently about 140) and prepares a list of recommended proposals for the AC to consider funding (currently about 40). Membership consists of the farmers and ranchers on the AC, interested AC members and a number of farmers and ranchers from throughout the NCR. Part of the committee rotates off each year and new members are recruited by the FRG Coordinator.
- Graduate Student Proposal Review Committee: This committee, which currently consists of AC volunteers, reviews proposals submitted in response to NCR-SARE’s call for graduate student proposals (currently about 48) and prepares a list of proposals for the AC to consider funding (NCR-SARE currently funds about 15 Graduate Student projects per year).
- Nominating Committee: This committee’s purpose is to help identify and recruit members for the AC and Executive Committee with special attention being given to limited resource and socially disadvantaged audiences.
- Professional Development Program (PDP) Review Committee: This committee, which consists of AC volunteers and one or two non-AC members recruited by the PDP Coordinator and Associate Coordinator. The committee reviews the PDP competitive grant preproposals and selects a list of preproposals to invite to develop into proposals. The committee then reviews the full proposals and recommends a list of proposals for funding to the AC (NCR-SARE funds about 6 PDP competitive grant projects per year). The committee also reviews annual reports and proposed Plans of Work submitted by the NCR State Coordinators and recommends funding to the AC. The PDP Committee meets twice a year.
- SARE Operations Committee: This is the committee that makes overall policy and budget decisions for SARE. Membership consists of the Chapter 1 Coordinator for each SARE Region, one Regional PDP Coordinator (elected by the other Regional PDP Coordinators), representatives of several Federal agencies that SARE works with, representatives from the national SARE office and NIFA, and members of each SARE Region’s AC. In the NCR, the AC Chair is the AC representative.
- SARE Outreach Steering Committee: The SARE Outreach Steering Committee provides input on all aspects of SARE’s national outreach efforts, including budget development, publication topics, outreach priorities, and long-range planning. Committee members are drawn from around the country to represent the diversity of U.S. agriculture. Each regional Administrative Council selects one member to serve on this committee.
- Youth Educator Review Committee: This committee serves as the review and advisory committee for the Youth Educator Grant Program. Specific activities include support and counseling regarding program strategies for accomplishing the Youth Educator goals of the Administrative Council, developing annual Call for Proposals for Youth Educator Grant (YED) Program, and review grant proposals and make funding recommendations to the Administrative Council.
- Technical Committee: This committee is specified in the legislation establishing SARE. In the NCR, this approximately 20-person committee reviews Research & Education grant proposals (currently about 30) and prepares a recommended list of technically acceptable proposals for the AC to consider funding. The terms are three years. NCR-SARE currently allocates about $1.5 million annually for the R&E grant program and funds about nine projects per year. The Technical Committee has a Chair, who has a seat on the AC. The TC is one exception to the majority AC membership rule. Two TC members are usually on the AC; they are suggested by the TC Chairs and are approved by the AC or EC. The regional PDP coordinator asks two SARE state coordinators to serve on the TC each year.
Administrative Council Nominations
NCR-SARE seeks nominees for the seats on its Administrative Council on an annual basis.
Council members must be from one of the 12 states that comprise the North Central SARE region. Those states are IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD, and WI.
The term for each of these SARE Administrative Council slots is three years. Council members attend two meetings a year, typically 2-3 day meetings in July and Feb./March at various Midwest locations, and also participate in a few conference calls each year. Travel expenses are fully covered for travel to Administrative Council meetings. Nominees should have a basic understanding of sustainable agriculture and be comfortable with reviewing grant proposals and participating in a group decision-making process.
To nominate yourself for a seat on the NCR-SARE Administrative Council, check with the NCR-SARE office to see which positions are open, and then submit the following information using our online form.
- the nominee’s areas of interest or focus in sustainable agriculture
- why the nominee is interested in serving on NCR-SARE’s Administrative Council
- the nominee’s experience, affiliations and/or qualifications
Nominations should be submitted online. We will acknowledge receipt of the materials and send a reply regarding the outcome of the election.
NCR-SARE is one of four regional offices that run the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, a nationwide grants and education program to advance sustainable innovation to American agriculture. Since 1988, NCR-SARE has awarded more than $40 million worth of competitive grants to farmers and ranchers, researchers, educators, public and private institutions, nonprofit groups, and others exploring sustainable agriculture in 12 states. The SARE program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture — National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA).