Welcome to the NCR-SARE sustainable agriculture newsroom, where you can find out about the latest publications and sustainable agriculture news, including press releases, images and other media files, and contacts.

USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)

On April 17, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the highly anticipated plan for how the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) intends to distribute the $23.5 billion Congress provided to aid farmers impacted by the ongoing pandemic. The centerpiece of this USDA plan is the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). CFAP will consist of two components: $16 billion in direct payments […]

Partnering to Promote Cover Crops in Southeast Wisconsin

Cover crops can improve a farmer’s bottom line in many ways, whether it’s by lowering fertilizer needs, reducing weed and pest pressure, or boosting yields, but as with any investment, there are things to take into consideration when planning. Jim Stute is a farmer in southeast Wisconsin, and a crop and soil researcher with the […]

Using Drone Sensors for Site-Specific Nitrogen Application

From shooting photos from small planes to using a powered parachute with the help of a sport pilot license, Dean Stevens has been taking to the sky to catch a glimpse of his family’s southeast Nebraska farm fields for the better part of 30 years. With recent support from a $15,000 NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant, […]

Reducing Tillage in Vegetables Using Cover Crops

When Thomas Ruggieri first planted cover crops on his vegetable farm in rural Missouri in 2004, he noticed improvements in soil fertility and plant health. Ruggieri and Rebecca Graff run Fair Share Farm, a diversified vegetable farm with a 140-member CSA in Kearney, Missouri. Vegetable growers can use cover crops to help reduce erosion, improve soil […]

Expanding Local Charcuterie in Northwest Missouri

Watching feed prices go up and pork prices go down can make value-added product lines attractive for a hog producer. Jim Pierce is a Farm Outreach Worker with Lincoln University’s Innovative Small Farmers’ Outreach Program and owns Of the Earth Farm Distillery, where he raises hogs and sheep, manages an orchard, and manufactures spirits with […]

Kansas City Food Hub Strengthens Brand and Marketing

In 2015, a small farm cooperative in the Kansas City area had a dilemma. Fresh Farm HQ (FFHQ) Cooperative Association was helping small and medium-sized farmers access wholesale markets in the Kansas City area, but with more than 18 produce distribution companies already operating in the area, they needed to differentiate themselves; they needed to […]

Mechanization Options for Root Crops on Small Farms

On five acres of land in central Michigan, Dru and Adam Montri grow vegetables with seasonal field production and six hoophouses. They sell their Ten Hens Farms produce at the farmers market, to local grocers, area restaurants, and a regional food distributor. They had a problem with root crops, and two other nearby vegetable growers did […]

Aspiring Farmers Connect with Youth Garden Program

Integrating agriculture into urban settings is not a new concept, but more and more, the benefits are being realized by communities, policymakers, and food-system entrepreneurs (NCAT-ATTRA 2018).  One such entrepreneur is Brent Lubbert, whose nonprofit organization is growing vegetables and future farmers on six plots of land in the Gifford Park Neighborhood of Omaha, Nebraska. […]

Native Plants Attract Beneficial Insects

Whether building boxes for mason bees or planting habitat for predatory beetles, farmers seeking sustainability can encourage populations of pollinators and beneficial insects on the farm.  Researcher Doug Landis knows that many native plant species are highly attractive to both pollinators and natural enemies, and with help from a $199,887 NCR-SARE Research and Education grant, […]

Sprinkler Deterrent System Helps Farmer Control Wildlife

Enhancing biodiversity on a farm can result in cleaner air and water and increased wildlife. But what happens when the wildlife gets a little too close to your crop? That’s the problem sweet corn grower, Scott Kelly, was facing on his farm near Kearney, Missouri. “The demands of growing produce sometimes seems never-ending,” said Kelly. […]

An Open-Source, Automated Irrigation System for Small Farms

Christian and Katie Flickinger were experienced urban farmers in Michigan who were farming eight plots in various locations. When they decided to consolidate their operation and buy a 7-acre farm in Howell, Michigan, they faced the challenge of converting a long-standing, non-rotated cornfield into the organic, heirloom farm of their dreams. Among the other items […]

Soil Remediation Techniques in Urban Agriculture

When we think of soil health, concepts like soil structure and water and nutrient holding capacity come to mind. For urban farmers managing contaminants such as lead and arsenic is another major soil health concern. Dirty Boots Flowers is an urban flower farm that shares a small parcel of land with two other farms in […]

Controlling Pigweed with Minimal Tillage in Fall Vegetable Crops

Managing and controlling weeds is an ongoing challenge and frustration for many farmers, but it can be especially cumbersome for organic producers, whose options for herbicides are limited. For these organic producers, no-till and conservation tillage systems can help conserve soil and can be used for weed control. Tom Buller, a vegetable grower and extension […]

Farm Towers: Urban Agriculture Goes Vertical

In southeast Nebraska where corn and livestock fields dominate the agricultural landscape, Auburn High School agriculture teacher, Ashton Bohling, offers a variety of agricultural education opportunities for curious youth. Students have access to an aquaponics system (an aquaculture system with tilapia) and a 24×48’ greenhouse. With support from a $1,999 NCR-SARE Youth Educator grant, Bohling […]

COVID-19 and NCR-SARE Grant-Related Events

NCR-SARE has been hearing from many NCR-SARE grant recipients who had ambitious plans for outreach events this spring, wondering how to proceed given COVID-19 concerns. Rest assured that our primary concern is your health and the health of your communities, and we advise you to follow the recommendations of your institutions or state departments of […]

NCR-SARE Seeks Nominations for Heroes Recognition

To bring awareness of, recognize, and pay tribute to those who have made significant contributions to sustainable agriculture in the North Central region, the North Central Region – Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE) is accepting nominations for the “NCR-SARE Hero” recognition.   Recommendations received by the end of the day on March 20, […]

NCR-SARE Seeking Review Committee Members

NCR-SARE is seeking nominees* for the following grant review committees:  Research and Education Grant Program Review Committee (Technical Committee) Farmer Rancher Grant Program Review Committee Partnership Grant Program Review Committee Professional Development Grant Program (PDP) Review Committee Graduate Student Grant Program Review Committee Youth Educator Grant Program Review Committee *Review committee members must live and work […]

NCR-SARE Announces 2020 Call for Graduate Student Grant Proposals

The 2020 NCR-SARE Graduate Student Grant Call for Proposals is now available online. Applicants can view a presentation about applying for a Graduate Student grant.  Graduate students enrolled at colleges or universities in the North Central region can submit proposals for up to $15,000 to fund sustainable agriculture projects that will be part of their educational […]

NCR-SARE Announces 2020 Call for Professional Development Program Grant Proposals

The 2020 NCR-SARE Professional Development Program call for proposals is now available online. NCR-SARE’s Professional Development Program (PDP) provides funds for professional development projects that provide sustainable agriculture training to agricultural professionals and educators in the Cooperative Extension Service (CES), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), other governmental agencies, and educators in the profit and non-profit sector […]

Meeting Notice

The Administrative Council of the NCR-SARE Program will meet from February 5, 2020 at 12pm until February 6, 2020 at 2pm at the Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Louis St. Charles, 2 Convention Center Blvd, St Charles, MO 63303.  Comments may be sent to Marie Flanagan at