NCR-SARE Announces 2020 Partnership Grants

May 22, 2020

NCR-SARE Program is pleased to announce the projects selected for the 2020 Partnership Grant Program.

For the 2020 Partnership Grant Program, NCR-SARE awarded more than $582,000 to 15 projects. NCR-SARE’s Partnership Grant Program is intended to foster cooperation between agriculture professionals and small groups of farmers and ranchers to catalyze on-farm research, demonstration, and education activities related to sustainable agriculture. Those selected to receive funding included (in order alphabetically, by state):

  • Jason Grimm of Iowa Valley RC&D in Amana, IA was awarded $39,930 for the project, “Full Trucks for Higher Profits: Transportation Collaboration among Farmers and Food Hubs in the Midwest.”
  • Philip Kauth of the Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, IA was awarded $40,000 for the project, “Seed Rematriation Using a Participatory Conservation Model.”
  • Ahna Kruzic of the Women, Food & Agriculture Network in Ames, IA was awarded $39,806 for the project, “Stories that Sell: A Robust Communications Toolkit for Sustainable Ag Farmers and Ranchers.”
  • Amir Sadeghpour of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL was awarded $39,995 for the project, “Research and Demonstration of Precision Planting of Cover Crop Mixtures for Improving Farm Profit and Soil Health.”
  • Amy Surburg of Hoosier Harvest Market in Greenfield, IN was awarded $38,000 for the project, “Hoosier Harvest 365 Hospital Delivery Program Expansion.”
  • Megan Kennelly of Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS was awarded $39,583 for the project, “Partnering in Plant Health: Improving our Understanding of Fruit Tree Diseases in Kansas.”
  • Jan Joannides of Renewing the Countryside in Minneapolis, MN was awarded $39,976 for the project, “Soil Sisters: Increasing Women Farmer-led Education and Opportunities Through Local Network-building and Learning Circles.”
  • Natalie Keane of Sprout MN in Little Falls, MN was awarded $25,838 for the project, “Grower-Buyer Network Development through Culinary Collaboration.”
  • Erin Laborie of the University of Nebraska Extension in Beaver City, NE was awarded $40,000 for the project, “Balancing Harvest Efficiency and Economics of Grazing Fall Forage Cover Crops.”
  • Justin McMechan of the University of Nebraska Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center in Ithaca, NE was awarded $39,906 for the project, “Insecticide Use in Cover Crops: Understanding Impacts at a Field Scale.”
  • AndrewKirk of The Ohio State University in Kingsville, OH was awarded $39,922 for the project, “Low Spray Rosé: Alternative Fruits for Rosé Cider Production.”
  • Leslie Schaller of ACEnet in Athens, OH was awarded $39,407 for the project, “Expanding Appalachia Ohio's Artisanal Meat Production.”
  • Chuck Anderas of the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service in Spring Valley, WI was awarded $39,934 for the project, “Building Resilient Organic Farms through Communities of Practice.”
  • Shelly Gradwell-Brenneman of the Valley Stewardship Network in Viroqua, WI was awarded $40,000 for the project, “On-Farm Stewardship Research Group: Farmer-Led Research to Promote Working Lands Conservation for Soil Health, Water Quality and Biodiversity.”
  • Kevin Wolz of the Savanna Institute in Madison, WI was awarded $40,000 for the project, “The Agroforestry Apprenticeship Program: On-farm and Online Training for the Next Generation of Agroforestry Farmers.”

Read descriptions of these projects online at

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.

Related Locations: North Central