Policy Information

The program that is now known as Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) was first authorized as Low-Input Sustainable Agriculture (LISA) in the Food Security Act of 1985.  Implementation was begun in 1988 when Congress first appropriated funds for the program.

In 1990, LISA was changed to SARE upon enactment of Title XVI of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990 (FACTA).  Subtitle B of Title XVI authorized research and education programs in Sustainable Agriculture under three chapters.  Chapter 1 (“Best Utilization of Biological Applications”) authorized the overall program structure of regional Administrative Councils and host institutions and competitive grants for research and education. It also authorized a Federal-State matching grant program (Appendix A) which has not yet been implemented. Chapter 2 authorized a program of integrated resource management that has never been funded nor implemented, and is not addressed in these guidelines.  Chapter 3 (“Sustainable Agriculture Technology Development and Transfer Program”) authorized technical guides and handbooks, and a training program that has been implemented as the SARE Professional Development Program.

The United States Code, Title 7 (Agriculture), Chapter 88 (Research), Subchapter I (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) sections 5801 through 5832, contains the language specific to the SARE program from the above legislation, as amended by subsequent legislation (i.e. the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 and the Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Reform Act of 1998). References in this document in the form of “(7 USC xx)” are to this code.

As a program of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), SARE adheres to regulations and procedures relevant to the agency and USDA, most notably the Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations (section 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations) which specifies procedures for grants and cooperative agreements.

The purpose of the guidelines is to make the legislation operational. They do not supersede any of the legislation nor do they include all of the language. These guidelines supersede any previous guidelines.  The guidelines can be obtained from USDA-NIFA-ECS-SARE, Stop 2223, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-2223.

North Central Region SARE Policy Resources

SARE Operations Guidelines

NCR-SARE Administrative Council Handbook (includes regional policies)

NCR-SARE Conflict of Interest Policy 

NCR-SARE Advisory Fee Policy 

NCR-SARE Logo Use and Guidelines