What is North Central Region SARE
North Central Region SARE (NCR-SARE) is one of four regional offices that run the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, a nationwide grants and education program to advance sustainable innovation to American agriculture. NCR-SARE offers competitive grants and educational opportunities for producers, scientists, educators, institutions, organizations and others exploring sustainable agriculture in America’s Midwest.
NCR-SARE has awarded more than $40 million worth of competitive grants to farmers and ranchers, researchers, educators, public and private institutions, nonprofit groups, and others exploring sustainable agriculture in 12 states. Project abstracts can be found by searching the SARE project database.
- The North Central Region contains America's Heartland.
- NCR-SARE's Mission Statement seeks to encourage discovery and learning.
- To maintain our agricultural heritage in a healthy manner, we have several program goals.
- To focus our work, we have core ideologies.
- Diverse, regional leadership helps us achieve our goals. Regional control means regional research and education priorities.
- NCR-SARE administers several competitive grant programs.
- The region also supports other initiatives.
- NCR-SARE provides resources, including project reports, publications, resources, and project products.
NCR-SARE's offices are hosted by the University of Minnesota in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, which prepares engineers, scientists, business professionals and leaders in the discovery, development and application of renewable resources and sustainable technologies to meet society's needs while enhancing the environment in Minnesota and beyond.
Foster site-specific, integrated farming systems; satisfy human food and fiber needs; enhance environmental quality, natural resource conservation and the integration of on-farm and biological resources; enhance the quality of life and support owner-operated farms; protect human health and safety; and promote crop, livestock and enterprise diversity and the well-being of animals.
NCR-SARE Mission Statement
North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education strengthens communities, increases farmer / rancher profitability, and improves the environment by supporting research and education.
This is congruent with the national legislation which created the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute for Food and Agriculture research and education program now entitled "Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education."
NCR-SARE Core Ideologies
Core Value: The sustainability and well-being of all aspects of agriculture and those communities that support agriculture.
Core Purpose: To preserve resources, to achieve the best environment possible, to produce the highest quality of product, and to maximize quality of life.
The 12 NCR states — Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin — have a rich agricultural history. The region embodies what most people think of when they envision the Heartland ... endless rows of corn, strong family traditions, quaint rural towns. The Heartland is this, and much more: highly diversified farms, urban-rural partnerships, community-supported agriculture ... The NCR’s challenge has been to hold fast to historical roots in a contemporary manner, preserving its place in the front lines of food production and promoting healthy food systems.
From the wheat and cattle of the high plains to the dairy farms and orchards of the northeast; from the corn, soybeans, and tall grass in our center to horticulture in the Ohio River Valley; from community-supported agriculture to farm cooperatives region-wide, the NCR’s agricultural landscape is large and diverse.
The region’s cultural history, agricultural prowess, and innovative new systems behoove us to enhance rural areas and support healthy, productive farms and ranches. SARE strives to sustain NCR agriculture by encouraging research and education on profitable and environmentally sound systems that strengthen communities.
The NCR funds cutting-edge projects every year in competitive grant programs. NCR 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 our 12 states. Council members hail from regional farms and ranches, the Cooperative Extension Service, and universities.
In addition, regional representatives of the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and NCR agribusinesses, state agencies, and foundations sit at the table to distribute grant money.
Regional control means projects are need-driven and funds are invested in answering the right questions.
The Administrative Council not only serves as the grant decision-maker, but also promotes sustainable agriculture by providing policy direction and initiating new programs.
Council members elected to directly support farmers and ranchers with grant funds in 1992. They created SARE’s Farmer Rancher Grant Program exclusively for farmers and ranchers conducting on-site research and education in sustainable agriculture.
Through grant-making and other initiatives, NCR leaders have supported and illuminated connections between people, communities, and natural resources, promoting healthy food systems in the North Central region.
Competitive Grant Programs
These main grant programs provide funds for sustainable agriculture projects:
Research and Education Grants — Awarded to multi-disciplinary teams of researchers, producers, educators and others exploring sustainable agriculture.
Farmer Rancher Grants — Awarded to farmers and ranchers for on-site projects in sustainable agriculture.
Professional Development Program Grants — Awarded for educational programs in sustainable agriculture practices and concepts for Extension, NRCS, and other agricultural professionals.
Graduate Student Program Grants — Awarded to graduate students studying sustainable agriculture in the North Central Region.
Youth Educator Grants — The Youth Educator program is for educators to provide programming on sustainable agriculture for youth.
Request publications on our program, including project reports, lists of funded projects, fact sheets, resources, and other information pieces on SARE and sustainable agriculture. We can also provide copies of individual grant reports.
We can refer you to other sustainable agriculture organizations or contacts in your area of interest or geographic region.
Find information on the national SARE program, including brochures, publication information from SARE Outreach, and other print and electronic resources.