Steve Seefeldt

Alaska is very large, so Alaska SARE Coordinator Steve Seefeldt uses partnerships and events to share information on sustainable agriculture. Learn more about SARE in Alaska. Photo by Jeff Fay, University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service

The innovative projects highlighted in this report illustrate the effect of Western SARE funds in this vast and diverse region. The investment of almost $53 million over 27 years has enabled 994 project leaders to conduct high-quality research that draws on true engagement and collaboration with producers. This research has impacted such agricultural issues as efficient water use, sustainable livestock grazing, soil health and cover cropping, improved marketing and branding, and more.

Importantly, research results do not stay shelved—Western SARE is committed to getting project results into the hands of those who most need them. Researchers, ag professionals, farmers, ranchers and policymakers all have access to publications, research reports, videos and other tools detailing the work that has been conducted and how new practices can be tested in their area.

From 2014 to 2016, the number of proposals submitted in two key grants programs—Research and Education, and Graduate Student—more than doubled, indicative of the growing need for an investment in sustainable agriculture research in the Western Region (2016 data not shown). With a dedication of more funds, Western SARE would be better able to invest in more of the next “big ideas,” as it did with researcher Rick Engel (p. 9) and graduate student Felipe Barrios Masias (p. 10).

Grants Awarded in the West

The following is a summary of SARE funding in the West. State-by-state grant data is also available. To learn about SARE-funded activities and opportunities in Western states, visit our state program pages. Visit the projects database to search individual projects by type, topic, state and other criteria.

Grant Proposals and Awards, 2014-2015

Grant Type
Preproposals
Received1
Full Proposals
Invited
Full Proposals
Received
Proposals
Funded
Funding
Total
Research and Education 97 33 31 14 $3.4 million
Professional Development N/A N/A 55 14 $842,500
Farmer/Rancher N/A N/A 50 19 $286,707
On-Farm Partnership N/A N/A 58 14 $662,861
Graduate Student N/A N/A 61 13 $409,307
1 The use of a preproposal process varies by region. It serves to screen project ideas for the larger and more complex grant programs, to reduce applicants’ proposal preparation burden and the proposal review burden for SARE’s volunteer reviewers.

Total Grants Awarded in the West, 1988-2015

Grant Type Grants Awarded Total Dollar Amount
Research and Education 287 $35.1 million
Professional Development 154 $9.8 million
Farmer/Rancher 445 $4.6 million
On-Farm Partnership 46 $2 million
Graduate Student 62 $1.2 million
Regional Total 994 $52.7 million

Improving the Water-Use Efficiency of Tomatoes

A SARE Graduate Student grant helped shape a sustainable horticulture professor’s career, and generated valuable information for California tomato growers who want to make more efficient use of irrigation water.

Keeping Fertilizer in the Ground and Out of the Air

In "a landmark study," Montana State University researchers teamed up with wheat farmers to develop improved recommendations for applying nitrogen fertilizer that minimize atmospheric losses. Through a few changes to application methods and timing, farmers can dramatically reduce the amount of applied N that is lost to volatilization, which improves their nutrient-use efficiency and saves them money.

USDA Improves Technical Outreach to Organic Farmers

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) are better able to provide financial and technical assistance to organic farmers implementing conservation practices thanks to a SARE-funded project that saw the creation of a suite of organic conservation guides. A multi-state group of partner organizations was involved.