Several in CFANS selected to receive SARE grants

The North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE) has announced awarding several grants to CFANS colleagues.

Professional Development - Emphasizes training agricultural educators in extension, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, private, and not-for-profit sectors, using farmers as educators and addressing emerging issues in the farm community.

  • Bee Squad Associate Program Director Rebecca Masterman - $75,000.00 grant for the project, "Training an Influential Network of Farming, Beekeeping and Extension Experts to Promote Bee Health."

    "The University of Minnesota Bee Squad and Hutchison Integrated Pest Management Lab propose to train beekeepers, farmers, and Extension Educators to promote bee health. Professional development programing will encourage these influential groups to learn from each other as well as inform best practices for implementation of pollinator habitat and integrated pest management through a participatory Plant Seeds to Help Bees Field Day Summit. Professional development programming will also include a webinar series and online curriculum," said Masterman.

Research and Education - A competitive grant program for researchers and educators involved in projects that explore and promote environmentally sound, profitable, and socially responsible food and/or fiber systems. Research and Education projects include a strong outreach component and significant farmer/rancher or other end user involvement from inception of the idea through implementation of the project.

  • Agronomy and Plant Genetics Assistant Professor M. Scott Wells - $199,999 for the project, "Winter Camelina: New cash crop opportunities for sustainable sugar beet production."

    "This research and education project will demonstrate the agronomic viability of integrating winter annual oilseeds as cash cover crops in conventional sugar beet cropping systems, and will quantify the associated economic and environmental effects. Outreach programing will use networking opportunities for farmers, researchers, and business and industry professionals to learn about Camelina and establish working relationships to develop a functioning supply chain," said Wells.

  • Soil, Water, and Climate Assistant Professor Nicolas Jelinski - $198,529 for the project, "Collaborative Evaluation of Ecosystem Services Provided by Urban Agricultural Best Management Practices in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area."

    "This project will utilize an existing team of academic, grower, and community partners to conduct integrated on- and off- farm participatory research to evaluate the ecosystem services provided by urban agriculture in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. The purpose of this work is to provide a scientific basis for the evaluation of urban agricultural best management practices with respect to ecosystem services such as soil and water quality, water infiltration, crop production, and biodiversity," said Jelinski.

Graduate Student Grant Program - A competitive grant program to fund graduate student projects that address sustainable agriculture issues.

  • Becky Zhong, along with Agronomy and Plant Genetics Professor Kevin Smith - $11,986.00 for the project, "Assessing Agroecosystem Services and End-use Malting Quality of Winter Barley in a Soybean-winter Barley Double Cropping System in the Upper Midwest."

    "This project aims to investigate the agroecosystem services and end-use quality of winter barley in a winter barley-soybean double cropping system. Specifically, the project will study nitrogen sequestration, biomass accumulation, and end-use malting quality in a double cropping system with winter barley and soybean," said Zhong.

  • Eric Nazareno, along with Plant Pathology Adjunct Professor Shahryar Kianian - $11,999.00 for the project, "Identification and Pyramiding of Candidate Genes Controlling Adult Plant Resistance in Oats Against Crown Rust Disease."

    "Breeding for host resistance is one of the most sustainable and cost-effective means to manage plant diseases. This project aims to develop advanced lines with pyramided resistance genes against oat crown rust for release as breeding germplasm," said Nazareno.

  • Emily Anderson, along with Soil, Water, and Climate Assistant Professor Satoshi Ishii - $11,929.00 for the project, "Enhancing Edge-of-field Woodchip Bioreactors to Reduce Nitrogen Leaching using Bioaugmentation and Biostimulation."

    "This study will reduce nitrate leaching from cropland through the enhancement of edge-of-field woodchip bioreactors. These bioreactors are a low-cost, low-maintenance method for reducing the flow of nitrates into surface waters by providing the means for biological nitrate reduction to nitrogen gas. This study will use two approaches to enhance nitrate removal: bioaugmentation, in which known denitrifying bacteria are introduced, and biostimulation, in which additional carbon is added to stimulate denitrification," said Anderson.

Funding considerations are made based on how well the applicant articulates the nature of the research and education components of their sustainable agriculture grant proposals. NCR-SARE administers each of its grant programs, each with specific priorities, audiences, and timelines. The focus for each of the NCR-SARE grant programs is on research and education.

NCR-SARE's Administrative Council (AC) members decide which projects will receive SARE funds. A collection of farm and non-farm citizens, 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 nonprofit organizations.