North Dakotans receive sustainable ag grants

NDSU Extension
Farm Forum

Two North Dakota State University soil health researchers have received a North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) program grant for a cover crop project.

“The grant will evaluate the benefits of using cover crops in rotation and getting that information in the hands of farmers using Extension programming,” says Abbey Wick, a co-principal investigator on this project.

Wick, an assistant professor in NDSU’s School of Natural Resource Sciences and NDSU Extension Service soil health specialist, and Caley Gasch, an assistant professor of soil health-research in the School of Natural Resource Sciences and co-principal investigator on the project, received a $29,488 grant.

The grant was through the NCR-SARE Partnership Grant Program, which is intended to promote cooperation between agriculture professionals and small groups of farmers and ranchers on demonstrations, on-farm research and educational activities related to sustainable agriculture.

North Dakota producers also have received grants under the NCR-SARE Farmer-Rancher Grant Program. That program provides grants to farmers and ranchers who are exploring sustainable agriculture in the Midwest. The North Dakota recipients are:

• Ross Lockhart, Heart and Soil Farm, Grandin — $7,500 for a project on controlling imported cabbage worm and cabbage looper damage in brassicaceae crops in an organic production system

• Clint Severance, From the Ground Up Farm, Hunter, and Nick Vinje, Vinje Farms, Gardner — $15,000 for a project on improving soil health by rotationally grazing cattle on full-season cover crop mixes on a no-till farm in the Red River Valley

These were among more than $896,000 in grants NCR-SARE awarded to 60 projects this year.

Since 1988, North Dakota has been awarded nearly $4.4 million to support 105 projects, including 28 research and/or educational projects, 10 professional development projects and 46 producer-led projects. North Dakota also has received additional SARE support through multistate projects.

“The SARE grant program has allowed North Dakota farmers, ranchers, partners and youth to do creative projects in sustaining agriculture,” says Karl Hoppe, the NDSU Extension Service’s area livestock systems specialist at the Carrington Research Extension Center and North Dakota SARE’s co-coordinator.

SARE is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. For more information about SARE and SARE grants, visit or contact the North Dakota SARE co-coordinators: Hoppe at 701-652-2951 or; or Bill Hodous, agriculture and natural resources agent in the NDSU Extension office in Ramsey County, at 701-662-7030 or

Steve Zwinger, a research specialist at NDSU’s Carrington Research Extension Center, left, and Frank Kutka of the Northern Plains Sustainable Ag Society, evaluate plants for seed production in the Farmer-Breeder Project. NDSU photo