NCR-SARE Announces 2020 Farmer Rancher Grants

May 28, 2020

NCR-SARE is pleased to announce the projects recommended for funding for the 2020 Farmer Rancher Grant Program. 55 grant projects were selected to receive a total of more than $718,000 through this NCR-SARE grant program, which offers competitive grants for farmers and ranchers who are exploring sustainable agriculture in America’s Midwest.

The Farmer Rancher Grant Program 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. Those selected to receive funding included (in order alphabetically, by state):

  • Zachary D’Amico of Matthew 25 in Cedar Rapids, IA was awarded $9,000 for the project, “Beetle Bank Installation and Education on Matthew 25’s Cultivate Hope Urban Farm.”
  • Joseph Hannan of Roscommon Berry Farm in Linden, IA was awarded $6,521 for the project, “Evaluating Soil Media for Vertical Hydroponic Strawberry Production.”
  • Jordan Scheibel of Middle Way Farm in Grinnell, IA was awarded $17,977 for the project, “Evaluating Raised-bed, No-till Vegetable Production Systems for Farm Profitability, Efficiency, and Resilience.”
  • Andrew Bowman of Bowman Farm in Oneida, IL was awarded $18,000 for the project, “Simultaneous Interseeding of Corn and Cover Crops at Various Row Spacings.”
  • Will Glazik of the IDEA Farm Network in Paxton, IL was awarded $17,530 for the project, “Exploring Flavor and Yield of Heirloom Corn Varieties for Spirit Production.”
  • Shannon McBride of the Liberty Prairie Foundation in Grayslake, IL was awarded $8,907 for the project, “Impact of Commercial Fungal Inoculant on Tomato Yield and Disease Resistance in Deep Composted Raised Beds.”
  • Jared Crum in Rossville, IN was awarded $7,826 for the project, “Utilizing Living Mulch in Organic Corn Production.”
  • Danielle Guerin of the Soul Food Project in Indianapolis, IN was awarded $7,525 for the project, “Near Northeast Community Supported Agriculture Program.”
  • Carolyn Orr of Strawridge Farm in West Lebanon, IN was awarded $8,932 for the project, “Revisiting Farm Diversification through Trout and Walleye Food Fish Production.”
  • Denice Rackley of Clearfield Stockdogs and Lamb in Bennington, IN was awarded $25,275 for the project, “Low Stress Livestock Management Hands-On Skill Building Workshops.”
  • Joyce Randolph of The Elephant Gardens in Indianapolis, IN was awarded $23,648 for the project, “Creative Solutions to Reverse Indianapolis’ Healthy Food Accessibility Trends.”
  • Tabitha Steckler of Hunley Creek Heifer Farm in Ferdinand, IN was awarded $26,745 for the project, “Understanding the Willingness of Farms to Utilize Lung Scanning in their Cattle Operations.”
  • Jake Johannes of Sacred Sun Farm in Perry, KS was awarded $1,400 for the project, “Red Kidney Bean Production in Kansas.”
  • Jessica Layton of Sacred Sun Farm in Perry, KS was awarded $3,370 for the project, “Medicinal Root Production for Small Scale Agriculture.”
  • James Leek of Pat and Rachel’s Gardens in Olathe, KS was awarded $27,000 for the project, “Market Allergy-Friendly Food Using Local Vegetables, Fruit, Proteins, and Value-added Products to Increase Small Farm Sales.”
  • Sarah Longstreth of Good Stead Farm in Hope, MI was awarded $7,604 for the project, “Organic IPM for Swede Midge on Small-Scale, Diversified Vegetable Farms.”
  • Filiberto Villa-Gomez of Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS) in East Lansing, MI was awarded $9,000 for the project, “The Organic Production of Traditional Crops by Mixteco Farmers.”
  • Arlo Cristofaro-Hark of Cannon Valley Graziers in Northfield, MN was awarded $8,683 for the project, “Feasibility of Solar Grazing in Minnesota: Co-locating Sheep and Solar for Economic Viability and Environmental Benefit.”
  • Wilber De La Rosa of the Main Street Project in Northfield, MN was awarded $26,736 for the project, “Use of Fresh Comfrey to Substitute 20% of the Total Diet (Base of Corn and Soy) of Broiler Chickens Raised under a System of Regenerative Production.”
  • Alyssa Knecht of Farm in the Dell of the Red River Valley in Moorhead, MN was awarded $4,947 for the project, “Economical Sustainable Weed Control Options for Small Farms with Alkaline Soil.”
  • Jerome Natzel of IFM Associates in Owatonna, MN was awarded $8,988 for the project, “Controlling Japanese Beetles in a Vineyard with a Drone Pesticide Sprayer.”
  • Wyatt Parks of the Main Street Project in Northfield, MN was awarded $17,726 for the project, “Scaling Up On-farm Drying Equipment for Elderflower and Other Perennial Herbs in the Upper Midwest.”
  • Julie Rappaport of SLP Seeds in Saint Louis Park, MN was awarded $9,000 for the project, “Permaculture Design Training for Urban Youth Farm Design Plan.”
  • Peter Skold of Waxwing Farm in Webster, MN was awarded $4,945 for the project, “Forcing Belgian Endive and Treviso Radicchio in The Upper Midwest.”
  • Noreen Thomas of Doubting Thomas Farms in Moorhead, MN was awarded $26,858 for the project, “Local Grains and Fruit for Adjunct Use in Craft Breweries.”
  • Gerard Eisterhold of Vox Vineyards in Kansas City, MO was awarded $18,000 for the project, “Investigating the Biodynamic Production of American Heritage Grapes.”
  • Jason Hirtz of Box Turtle Farm in Mount Vernon, MO was awarded $9,000 for the project, “Biosolarization for Disease and Weed Control for Winter High Tunnels.”
  • Susan Jaster in Concordia, MO was awarded $25,516 for the project, “Evaluating Pasture Climate Resilience Utilizing Wild Forb and Insect Biodiversity Related to Changing Soil Health.”
  • Dan Kelly of Blue Heron Orchard in Canton, MO was awarded $8,968 for the project, “Agroforestry Based Control for Cedar-Apple Rust Disease and Browsing Deer in Organic Apple Orchards.”
  • Dan Krull of Cultivate K.C. in Kansas City, MO was awarded $7,215 for the project, “Japanese Quail as Organic Pest Control in Trap Cropping System.”
  • Matt Lebon of Custom Foodscaping in Saint Louis, MO was awarded $17,564 for the project, “Developing a Market for Locally-adapted Organic Fruiting Plants in Saint Louis.”
  • Matthew Renkoski of Southwind Farms in Osage Beach, MO was awarded $8,335 for the project, “Increasing Utility of Native Stands of Persimmons.”
  • Drew Scott of Scott’s Baked Goods in Columbia, MO was awarded $8,995 for the project, “Cultivation of Organic Tea in Missouri, with Focus on Low-Cost Overwintering Methods.”
  • Christine Williams of Pepper Berries Urban Farm and Agape Grow Education Center in Kansas City, MO was awarded $23,648 for the project, “Producing Ground Cherries with a ’Hillside Growing System’” to Increase Production for Selling Fresh Fruit and Added Value Products.”
  • Emily Wright of Small Farm Systems in Ashland, MO was awarded $6,565 for the project, “Midwest Summer Greens Production: The Effect of Shade on Yield and Quality.”
  • Derek Lowstuter of Folly Hill Farm in Bismarck, ND was awarded $8,980 for the project, “Development of an Integrated Ventilation, Thermal Mass, and Lighting System for the First Deep Winter Greenhouse (DWG) in North Dakota.”
  • Megan Mahoney of MaHoney Bees and Queens in Jamestown, ND was awarded $9,000 for the project, “Honeybee Breeding Program Designed for the Commercial Beekeeping Industry to Provide Sustainable Breeding Stock using Artificial Insemination.”
  • James Ryan in Balfour, ND was awarded $8,826 for the project, “Organic No-till in Perennial Cover.”
  • David Keber of Omaha’s High Ground: A Healthy Market Garden in Omaha, NE was awarded $8,998 for the project, “Building a Custom Trailer to Increase Market Exposure, Profitability, and Educational Outreach for Urban Produce and Free-Range Egg Farmers.”
  • La Sonya Luther in Omaha, NE was awarded $9,000 for the project, “Strengthening the Heart of Omaha Youth-Led Vacant Lot Transformation for Urban Agriculture.”
  • Travis Stumpf of Grain Place Foundation in Marquette, NE was awarded $9,000 for the project, “Sustainable Silvopasture Hog Production Compared to Drylot System.”
  • Traci Bell of Ripple Rock Fish Farms in Frazeysburg, OH was awarded $26,990 for the project, “Improving Oxygen Transfer in a Recirculating Aquaculture System, to Increase Production and Promote the Sustainability of Raising Tilapia Indoors.”
  • Jessica Burns of Kelly’s Working Well Farm in Chagrin Falls, OH was awarded $8,988 for the project, “Growing Seedlings and Skills for Agroforestry: Integration of Woody Seedling and Annual Vegetable Production.”
  • Christine Morrow of Rocky Knob Farms of Ohio in McConnelsville, OH was awarded $8,489 for the project, “Improving Accelerated Lambing System through Data Management.”
  • Tom Phillips of StarkFresh in Canton, OH was awarded $9,000 for the project, “Mushroom Cultivation as a Way to Get Out of Poverty.”
  • Erin Gaugler of Gaugler Farm and Ranch in Lemmon, SD was awarded $18,000 for the project, “Multi-Species Bale Grazing to Build Soil Health.”
  • Patricia Hammond of Rebel Earth Farms in Martin, SD was awarded $27,000 for the project, “Exploring the use of Compost and Biochar as Both Soil Amendments and as Heat Sources to Extend the Growing Season Inside High-tunnels on the Pine Ridge.”
  • Jennifer Walker of Walker Farm in Fruitdale, SD was awarded $9,641 for the project, “Growing Camelina (Camelina sativa) in Western South Dakota.”
  • Andrew Adamski of Full Circle Farm in Seymour, WI was awarded $8,005 for the project, “Intensive No-Till Vegetable Soil Preparation in Organic Systems.”
  • Zachary Alexander of Green Hills in Watertown, WI was awarded $8,892 for the project, “A Single-Row Mechanical Nut Planter for Nut and Hardwood Plantations.”
  • Stephanie Bartel of Old Plank Farm in Plymouth, WI was awarded $17,262 for the project, “Using Actively Aerated Compost Tea in Organic Vegetable and Fruit Production.”
  • Lindsey Bender of Field and Forest Products in Peshtigo, WI was awarded $9,000 for the project, “Quantifying the Capacity of Wine Cap Mushroom Cultivation to Enhance Soil Health, Improve Vegetable Crop Value, and Increase Farmer Profitability.”
  • Robert Braun of Pigeon River Farm in Clintonville, WI was awarded $8,980 for the project, “Curriculum Introducing Drones as Cost Effective Tools for Improved Efficiency in Ecologically and Socially Responsible Management of Livestock Grazing.”
  • Daniel Cornelius of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin in Madison, WI was awarded $27,000 for the project, “Traditional Tribal Growing Practices for Integrated Pest Management.”
  • Christopher McGuire of Two Onion Farm in Belmont, WI was awarded $9,000 for the project, “Organic Apple Production In High Tunnels.” 

Read descriptions of these projects online at https://northcentral.sare.org/Grants/Recent-Grant-Projects    

The focus for each of the NCR-SARE 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.

NCR-SARE’s Administrative Council (AC) members decide which projects will receive SARE funds. The AC includes a diverse 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.