NCR-SARE announces 2018 grant recipients

Staff reports
Farm Forum

The North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) Program is pleased to announce the projects recommended for funding for the Research and Education, Graduate Student, and Professional Development competitive grant programs. Forty-eight projects were awarded a total of more than $4 million through these three NCR-SARE grant programs, which offer competitive grants for researchers, graduate students, organizations, agricultural educators, and others who are exploring sustainable agriculture in America’s Midwest.

For the 2018 Research and Education program, NCR-SARE awarded $3.01 million to 16 projects ranging from $98,561 to $200,000. The Research and Education Program is 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. The following awarded projects are in order by state and then by last name:

  • Sarah Carlson with Practical Farmers of Iowa was awarded $199,817 for the project, “Treating Small Grains as a Cash Crop: Stepping up Small Grain Variety Selection for Cornbelt Farmers.”
  • Mark Gleason with Iowa State University was awarded $193,962 for the project, “Optimizing Mesotunnel Systems for Sustainable Production of Cucurbit Crops.”
  • Mark Licht with Iowa State University's Conservation Learning Group was awarded $199,351 for the project, “Redefining the Field Edge.”
  • Mallory Krieger with The Land Connection in Illinois was awarded $197,909 for the project, “Midwestern Initiative to Discern and Overcome Identity-Based Barriers to Adopting Regenerative Practices in Commercial Grain Farming.”
  • Martin Williams with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service in Urbana, Illinois was awarded $199,507 for the project, “A Decision Support Tool for Adaptive Management of Cereal Rye in No-till Organic and Conventional Soybeans.”
  • Tamara Benjamin with Purdue University was awarded $199,676 for the project, “Increasing the Sustainable Production and Access of Fresh Produce in Urban Areas of NW Indiana.”
  • Petrus Langenhoven with Purdue University was awarded $199,994 for the project, “Biological Approaches to Sustainable Mint Production.”
  • Augustine Obour with Kansas State University was awarded $199,820 for the project, “Cover Crop Management Options to Improve Weed Control, Crop Yield and Soil Health.”
  • Jason Rowntree with Michigan State University was awarded $199,149 for the project, “Enhancing Healthfulness and Demand of Upper Midwestern, Locally Produced Beef.”
  • Jacob Jungers with the University of Minnesota was awarded $199,946 for the project, “Intercropping the Perennial Grain Kernza® with Legumes for Sustained Economics and Environmental Benefits.”
  • Michael Ostlie with North Dakota State University's Carrington Research Extension Center was awarded $199,995 for the project, “Whole System Approach to Integrated Crop/Livestock Production to Enhance Soil Health and Profitability of Cropping and Livestock Systems in the Northern Great Plains.”
  • Steven Culman with The Ohio State University was awarded $98,561 for the project, “Assessing Soil Fertility and Soil Health in Midwest Hop Production.”
  • Christopher Graham with South Dakota State University was awarded $199,813 for the project, “Using Native Rhizobia to Create a Drought-Resilient Field Pea Production System.”
  • Jonathan Lundgren with Ecdysis Foundation in Estelline, South Dakota was awarded $200,000 for the project, “Dynamics of Dung Invertebrate Communities, and Their Contributions to Profitability in Regenerative Rangelands.”
  • Vicki Jeppesen with Northcentral Technical College in Wausau, Wisconsin was awarded $200,000 for the project, “Community College Alliance for Agriculture Advancement (C2A3): Regionally-Specific and Collaborative Educational Approaches to Promote Sustainable Soil Health Practices.”
  • Kellie Zahn with the Stockbridge-Munsee Community in Bowler, Wisconsin was awarded $131,676 for the project, “From the Earth.”

For the 2018 Graduate Student program, NCR-SARE awarded more than $235,000 to 20 projects ranging from $10,781 to $12,000. Graduate Student Grant program is a competitive grant program to fund graduate student projects that address sustainable agriculture issues. The following awarded projects are in order by state and then by last name:

  • Lydia English, along with Professor Matt Liebman, at Iowa State University was awarded $10,781 for the project, “Linking Agricultural Production and Conservation Through In-field Prairie Plantings.”
  • Sarah Kurtz, along with Professor Alison Robertson, at Iowa State University of Science and Technology was awarded $11,817 for the project, “The Effects of Two Winter Rye Cover Crop Seeding Methods on Corn Disease, Growth and Development.”
  • Virginia Nichols, along with Professor Matt Liebman, at Iowa State was awarded $11,543 for the project, “How Much Does Diversification Improve Soil Water Holding Capacity?”
  • Kevin Lavin, along with Professor Amir Sadeghpour, at Southern Illinois University was awarded $11,598 for the project, “Integrating Cover Crops into Bell Pepper Production Systems for Improving Phosphorus Uptake, Increasing Ecosystem Services, and Bell Pepper Yield.”
  • Mingla Charoenmuang, along with Professor Neil Knobloch, at Purdue University was awarded $11,354 for the project, “Developing Educational Resources on Sustainable Food Systems for High School Students.”
  • Nicholas Lancaster, along with Professor Ariana Torres, at Purdue University was awarded $12,000 for the project, “Developing Financial and Risk Management Tools for Organic Grain Farmers.”
  • Eoghan McCroskey, along with Professor Jeffrey Holland, at Purdue University was awarded $11,988 for the project, “Springtails as Bioindicators of Soil Health.”
  • Richard Roth, along with Professor Shalamar Armstrong, at Purdue was awarded $11,999 for the project, “Understanding Cereal Rye Nitrogen Decomposition and its Transition into Inorganic and Organic Soil Nitrogen Pools.”
  • Spencer Barriball, along with Professor Brandon Schlautman, at The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas was awarded $11,891 for the project, “Improving Kernza® and Alfalfa Bicultures by Developing a Kernza Crop Calendar, Identifying Compatible Germplasm, and Monitoring Changes in Soil Health Properties.”
  • Ashlee Skinner, along with Professor Cary Rivard, at Kansas State University was awarded $11,999 for the project, “Monitoring Belowground Arthropods Associated with Cover Crops in Great Plain High Tunnel Systems.”
  • Alison Bressler, along with Professor Jennifer Blesh, at the University of Michigan was awarded $11,970 for the project, “Cover crop Mixtures for Nitrogen use Efficiency on Grain Farms in Southern Michigan.”
  • Gabriela Quinlan, along with Professor Rufus Isaacs, at Michigan State University was awarded $11,995 for the project, “Nutrition Management for European Foulbrood (EFB) Recovery in Honey Bees.”
  • Ren Olive, along with Professor Nicholas Jordan, at the University of Minnesota was awarded $12,000 for the project, “Farm to Fridge: Assessing Need and Availability of Underutilized Refrigeration in Rural Grocery Stores for Use by Fruit and Vegetable Farmers.”
  • Gabriela Inveninato Carmona, along with Professor Anthony McMechan, at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was awarded $11,716 for the project, “Evaluating the Impact of Insecticides on Arthropods in Cover Crop to Corn Transitions.”
  • Alexandre Tonon Rosa, along with Professor Strahinja Stepanovic, at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was awarded $11,525 for the project, “Double Cropping Field Peas with Cover Crops, Forages, and Short Season Crops in Sub-Humid Climates.”
  • Dipak Kathayat, along with Professor Gireesh Rajashekara, at The Ohio State University was awarded $11,817 for the project, “Prevention of Avian Pathogenic Escherichia Coli (APEC) Infections in Poultry Using Novel Probiotics.”
  • Ram Bahadur Khadka, along with Professor Sally Miller, at The Ohio State University was awarded $11,995 for the project, “Combined Effects of Inundative Biocontrol and Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation (ASD) Using Non-Host Cover Crops as Carbon Sources for Clubroot Management in Cruciferous Crops.”
  • Jordon Wade, along with Professor Steven Culman, at The Ohio State University was awarded $11,810 for the project, “I Do Not Think it Means What You Think it Means: Explorations of Mental Models of Soil Health.”
  • Michael Bredeson, along with Professor Jonathan Lundgren, at Ecdysis Foundation in Brookings, South Dakota was awarded $11,907 for the project, “Predation, Herbivory, and Farmer Profitability and Sustainability in Response to Interseeded Cover Crops in Standing Corn for Agroecosystem Diversification.”
  • Hanna McIntosh, along with Professor Christelle Guedot, at the University of Wisconsin was awarded $11,987 for the project, “Impact of Mulches on Management of Spotted Wing Drosophila, Fruit Yield and Quality.”

For the 2018 Professional Development Program, NCR-SARE awarded more than $882,000 to 12 projects ranging from $67,089 to $75,000. NCR-SARE Professional Development Program competitive grants emphasize training agricultural educators in extension, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, non-profit organizations, and other public and private sector organizations. The following awarded projects are in order by state and then by last name:

  • Rosalyn Lehman with the Iowa Organic Association was awarded $75,000 for the project, “Growing Organic Expertise in Iowa.”
  • Lisa Holscher with the Indiana Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative was awarded $74,875 for the project, “Adapting Soil Health Curriculum to Ag Retailer Training.”
  • Chad Watts with the Conservation Technology Information Center in West Lafayette, Indiana was awarded $74,959 for the project, “Enhancing Professional Development Opportunities to Improve Technical Capacity of Indiana Conservation Delivery Professionals.”
  • Elizabeth Lillard with the National Wildlife Federation in Ann Arbor, Michigan was awarded $74,993 for the project, “Advancing Watershed Health Through Watershed Champions.”
  • Rachel Armstrong with Farm Commons in Duluth, Minnesota was awarded $74,947 for the project, “Sustainable Farm Law 101 for Agriculture Professionals and Educators.”
  • Meg Moynihan with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture was awarded $72,714 for the project, “Trying Times: Tools to Understand and Alleviate Farm Stress.”
  • Helene Murray with the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Sustainable Agriculture was awarded $67,089 for the project, “Blazing Trails through the Jungle of Food Regulations.”
  • Marisol Berti with North Dakota State University was awarded $74,855 for the project, “Cover Crops and Forage Grazing Training Program in North Dakota.”
  • Amy Schmidt with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was awarded $74,905 for the project, “Facilitating 'Win-Win' Manure Utilization for Sustained Soil Health, Economic, and Environmental Benefits.”
  • Eric Romich with The Ohio State Universiy was awarded $74,364 for the project, “Solar Electric Investment Analysis for Small Farms.”
  • Christopher Boomsma with the American Society of Agronomy in Madison, Wisconsin was awarded $68,437 for the project, “An Introductory Virtual Training Curriculum for Crop Advisers and Extension Educators Working with Transitioning Organic Grain Crop Producers.” Boomsma's project has been named as the 2017 Paula Ford Professional Development Program Outstanding Proposal of the Year. From 1991-1997 Dr. Ford served as the Program Coordinator for the Southern Region SARE program. She was the NCR-SARE Professional Development Program Coordinator at Kansas State University for 11 years (1999-2009), and supported sustainable agriculture and SARE for more than 20 years. To honor Dr. Ford's contributions to NCR-SARE, the Administrative Council created the "Paula Ford Professional Development Program Outstanding Proposal of the Year" award. Each year, one Professional Development Program funded project in the North Central region is given this special designation. The region selects the project that best exemplifies Dr. Ford's contributions and passion for evaluation, professional development and/or science-based research.
  • Yi Wang with the University of Wisconsin was awarded $74,959 for the project, “Water Conservation Practices for Sustainable Food Production Systems: Developing an Online, Participatory Training Vehicle for Ag-professional to Enhance Interaction with Farmers.”

View NCR-SARE’s 2018 funded projects and their descriptions—including the Farmer Rancher, Youth Educator, and Partnership grants that were awarded earlier this year—online at http://www.northcentralsare.org/Grants/Recent-Grant-Projects

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.