Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education

 

The purpose of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE) program is to encourage research designed to increase our knowledge concerning agricultural production systems that: (1) maintain and enhance the quality and productivity of the soil; (2) conserve soil, water, energy, natural resources, and fish and wildlife habitat; (3) maintain and enhance the quality of surface and ground water; (4) protect the health and safety of persons involved in the food and farm system; (5) promote the well being of animals; and (6) increase employment opportunities in agriculture (section 1619-1624 of the Food, griculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990 (FACTA), Public Law 101-624 (7 U.S.C. 5801). The request for applications (RFA) is for the regional SARE host institutions to apply for funds to carry out the regional SARE programs under the direction of the SARE Regional Administrative Councils (section 1622 of FACTA (7 U.S.C. 5812)), and for selected national projects. Most SARE competitive grants are made by the SARE regions as subawards. Typically, approximately 85% of the award to a SARE regional host institution is used for subawards. Individuals and organizations interested in applying for SARE competitive grants should NOT respond to this funding opportunity; rather they should apply to the appropriate SARE regional program. (See http://www.nifa.usda.gov/fo/sustainableagricultureresearchandeducation.cfm ).

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Active
Program Number
10.215
Federal Agency/Office
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Office: National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
PROJECT GRANTS
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2014: For FY 2014:

In FY 2014 the SARE Research and Education funding line (CFDA 10.215) was consolidated with the SARE Professional Development Program funding line (CDFA 10.500) to be administered as a single program which would maintain the functions of both programs.

For the FY 2014 award cycle, $ 21,303,353 was available after subtracting agency administrative costs and the SBIR assessment. Of this amount $1,208,515 was used for communications, outreach and coordination activities at the national level and $20,094,838 was distributed equally among the four SARE Regions.

Each region uses these funds to support several different types of competitive sub-awards. These include Research and Education grants, Farmer- Rancher grants, Producer plus Professional grants, Graduate Student grants and Youth Educator grants (North Central region only). The inclusion of the CDFA 10.500 has added Professional Development Program competitive grants and state grants for each of the fifty states, Washington DC and the island protectorates. Fiscal Year 2015: FY 2015 SARE Chapter 1 Projects:

In FY 2015 the SARE Research and Education funding line (CFDA 10.215) was consolidated with the SARE Professional Development Program funding line (CDFA 10.500) to be administered as a single program which would maintain the functions of both programs.

For the FY 2015 award cycle, $ 21,287,033 was available after subtracting agency administrative costs and the SBIR assessment. Of this amount $1,269,778 was used for communications, outreach and coordination activities at the national level and $20,017,255 was distributed equally among the four SARE Regions.

Each region uses these funds to support several different types of competitive sub-awards. These include Research and Education grants, Farmer- Rancher grants, Producer plus Professional grants, Graduate Student grants and Youth Educator grants (North Central region only). The inclusion of the CDFA 10.500 has added Professional Development Program competitive grants and state grants for each of the fifty states, Washington DC and the island protectorates. For FY 2015, not all sub-awards have been finalized and a comprehensive tabulation of the sub-awards by grant type is not yet available.

SARE Chapter 3 Projects:
It is anticipated that the FY2015 appropriations will maintain the consolidation of this program with CFDA 10.215 which was initiated in FY 2014. Fiscal Year 2016: For FY 2016:
The FY 2016 Funding Levels have not yet been established by Congressional Appropriations. Information is not yet available. Pertinent details to be provided by Program at a future date.
Authorization
Section 1619-1624 of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990 (FACTA), Public Law 101-624 (7 U.S.C. 5801). , 7 U.S.C 5801; Section 1622 of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (FACTA Act), and for selected national projects, Public Law 101-624, 7 U.S.C 5812; Section 1629 of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (FACTA Act), Smith-Lever 3(d)., Public Law 101-624, 7 U.S.C 5832; Section 1621 of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (FACTA Act)., Public Law 101-624, 7 U.S.C 5811; Section 1628 of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (FACTA Act)., Public Law 101-624, 7 U.S.C 5831.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Land-grant colleges or universities, other universities, State agricultural experiment stations, State cooperative extension services, nonprofit organizations, and individuals with demonstrable expertise, or Federal or State governmental entities.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Land-grant colleges or universities, other universities, State agricultural experiment stations, State cooperative extension services, nonprofit organizations, and individuals with demonstrable expertise, or Federal or State governmental entities.
Credentials/Documentation
Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number and System for Award Management (SAM) - each applicant (unless excepted under 2 CFR § 25.110(b) or (c), or has an exception approved by the Federal awarding agency under 2 CFR § 25.110(d)) is required to: (i) Be registered in SAM before submitting its application; (ii) provide a valid DUNS number in its application; and (iii) continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by a Federal awarding agency. It also must state that the Federal awarding agency may not make a Federal award to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable DUNS and SAM requirements and, if an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time the Federal awarding agency is ready to make a Federal award, the Federal awarding agency may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a Federal award and use that determination as a basis for making a Federal award to another applicant.

Applicants must furnish the information required in the request for applications (RFAs). Successful applicants recommended for funding must furnish the information and assurances requested during the award documentation process. These include, but are not limited to the following:

Organizational Management Information - Specific management information relating to an applicant shall be submitted on a one time basis, with updates on an as needed basis, as part of the responsibility determination prior to the award of a grant identified under this RFA, if such information has not been provided previously under this or another NIFA program. NIFA will provide copies of forms recommended for use in fulfilling these requirements as part of the preaward process. Although an applicant may be eligible based on its status as one of these entities, there are factors which may exclude an applicant from receiving Federal financial and nonfinancial assistance and benefits under this program (e.g., debarment or suspension of an individual involved or a determination that an applicant is not responsible based on submitted organizational management information). This information collection is approved under OMB Circular Control No. 0524-0026, “Assurance of Compliance with the Department of Agriculture Regulations Assuring Civil Rights, Compliance and Organization Information.”. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
All RFAs are published on the Agency’s website and Grants.gov. Applicants must complete the Grants.gov registration process. Please see the following Grants.gov link for more information: http://www.grants.gov/applicants/get_registered.jsp. An environmental impact statement is required for this program. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. Applications should be submitted as outlined in the RFA. Applications must follow the instructions provided per Grants.Gov and in the Agency guide to submitting applications via Grants.gov.
Award Procedure
2 CFR Part 200 - Subpart C and Appendix I apply to this program.


Regional technical committees will review, rank and prioritize proposals received from public and private organizations and make recommendations for funding to the regional administrative councils. Regional administrative councils will approve proposals for funding and associated plans of work and submit them to USDA. Research and education subcommittee on sustainable agriculture will review plans of work and the Department will give final approval. Applications are subjected to a system of peer and merit review in accordance with section 103 of the Agricultural Research, Extension and Education Reform Act of 1998 (7 U.S.C. 1613) by a panel of qualified scientists and other appropriate persons who are specialists in the field covered by the proposal. Within the limit of funds available for such purpose, the NIFA Authorized Departmental Officer (ADO) shall make grants to those responsible, eligible applicants whose applications are judged most meritorious under the procedures set forth in the RFA. Reviewers will be selected based upon training and experience in relevant scientific, extension, or education fields, taking into account the following factors: (a) The level of relevant formal scientific, technical education, or extension experience of the individual, as well as the extent to which an individual is engaged in relevant research, education, or extension activities; (b) the need to include as reviewers experts from various areas of specialization within relevant scientific, education, or extension fields;
(c) the need to include as reviewers other experts (e.g., producers, range or forest managers/operators, and consumers) who can assess relevance of the applications to targeted audiences and to program needs; (d) the need to include as reviewers experts from a variety of organizational types (e.g., colleges, universities, industry, state and Federal agencies, private profit and non-profit organizations) and geographic locations; (e) the need to maintain a balanced composition of reviewers with regard to minority and female representation and an equitable age distribution; and (f) the need to include reviewers who can judge the effective usefulness to producers and the general public of each application.
Evaluation Criteria will be delineated in the RFA.
Deadlines
Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Dates for specific deadlines are announced in the RFA each fiscal year.
Information is also available via our website and may be obtained via the Grants.gov website. Respective links are provided below:

http://nifa.usda.gov;
http://www.grants.gov

Section :095 - Range of Approval/Disapproval Time: From 30 to 180 days.
Appeals
2 CFR Part 200 - Subparts D & E apply to this program.
Renewals
Specific details are provided in the Request for Applications (RFA) each fiscal year.
How are proposals selected?
Within guidelines established for the program as described in the Request for Application (RFA).
How may assistance be used?
Grant funds must be used for allowable costs necessary to conduct approved fundamental and applied research, extension and education objectives to address food and agricultural sciences. Funds shall not be used for the construction of a new building or facility or the acquisition, expansion, remodeling, or alteration of an existing building or facility (including site grading and improvement, and architect fees). Funds may not be used for any purposes other than those approved in the grant award documents. Funds shall not be used for tuition remission. Funds shall not be used for fixed equipment. Section 704 of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012 (P.L. 112-55) limits indirect costs to 10 percent of the total Federal funds provided under each cooperative agreements or similar arrangements. Therefore, when preparing budgets, applicants should limit their requests for recovery of indirect costs to the lesser of their institution’s official negotiated indirect cost rate or the equivalent of 10 percent of total Federal funds awarded. Fully discretionary.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Reporting
2 CFR Part 200 - Subpart D applies to this program.


Grantees are to submit initial project information and annual summary reports to NIFA’s electronic, Web-based inventory system that facilitates both grantee submissions of project outcomes and public access to information on Federally-funded projects. The details of the reporting requirements are included in the award terms and conditions. No cash reports are required. 2 CFR Part 200 - Subpart D applies to this program.

Grantees are to submit initial project information and annual summary reports to NIFA’s
electronic, Web-based inventory system that facilitates both grantee submissions of project outcomes and public access to information on Federally-funded projects. The details of the reporting requirements are included in the award terms and conditions. 2 CFR Part 200 - Subpart D applies to this program

A final “Financial Status Report” (SF-269) or “Federal Financial Report” (SF-425) is due within 90 days of the expiration date of the grant and should be submitted to the Awards Management Branch, Office of Extramural Programs at the address listed below, in accordance with instructions contained in 2 CFR 3430.55 (also refer to Section 3015.82 of the Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations).

Awards Management Division
Office of Grants and Financial Management
National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
STOP 2271
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250-2271
Telephone: (202) 401-4986. 2 CFR Part 200 - Subpart D applies to this program

Grantees are to submit initial project information and annual summary reports to NIFA’s electronic, Web-based inventory system that facilitates both grantee submissions of project outcomes and public access to information on Federally-funded projects. The details of the reporting requirements are included in the award terms and conditions.
Auditing
In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503. This program is also subject to audit by the cognizant Federal audit agency and the USDA Office of Inspector General.
Records
2 CFR Part 200, Subpart D applies to this program.

In accordance with the Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and other Non-profit Organizations [2 CFR 215, Subpart C, Section 215.53, (OMB Circular A-110)] grantees shall maintain separate records for each grant to ensure that funds are used for authorized purposes. Grant-related records are subject to inspection during the life of the grant and must be retained at least 3 years. Records must be retained beyond the 3-year period if litigation is pending or audit findings have not been resolved.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
This program has no statutory formula.
This program has no matching requirements. Funds are awarded competitively. No formula grants are awarded under Subtitle K of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 [7 U.S.C. 3319e]. NIFA does not require matching or cost sharing support for this program. Funds are awarded competitively. No formula grants are awarded under this authority.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
2 CFR Part 200, Subpart D applies to this program.

The term of a competitive grant under this authority may not exceed five (5) years. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: by letter of credit.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
None.
Headquarters Office
USDA, NIFA, National Program Leader, Institute of Food Production and Sustainablity, Division of Agricultural Systems, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., STOP 2240, Washington , District of Columbia 20250-2240 Email: Policy@nifa.usda.gov Phone: (202) 401-0151 Fax: (202) 401-5179
Website Address
http://nifa.usda.gov/program/sustainable-agriculture-program
Financial Information
Account Identification
12-1500-0-1-352.
Obligations
(Project Grants) FY 14 $21,303,353; FY 15 est $21,287,033; and FY 16 est $21,270,713 - The difference between the appropriation and obligation numbers reflects legislative authorized set-asides deducted as appropriate, and in some cases the availability of obligational authority from prior years.

NOTE: Effective Fiscal Year 2014, Programs under Sustainable Agriculture (research, education and extension) were merged into a single program under the research account.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
If minimum or maximum amounts of funding per competitive project grant or cooperative agreement are established, these will be announced in the annual program announcement or Request for Application (RFA).
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
The following federal statutes and regulations represent general administrative requirements which apply to NIFA federal assistance programs. These include, but are not limited to the ones listed below.

2 CFR Part 25 - Universal Identifier and Central Contractor Registration

2 CFR Part 170 - Reporting Subaward and Executive Compensation Information

2 CFR Part 175 - Award Term for Trafficking in Persons

2 CFR Part 180 and Part 417 - OMB Guidelines to Agencies on Government-Wide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) and USDA Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension

2 CFR Part 182 - Governmentwide Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace (Financial Assistance)

2 CFR Part 200 - Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards

2 CFR Part 400 – USDA implementation of 2 CFR Part 200 - Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards

2 CFR Part 415 - General Program Administrative Regulations

2 CFR Part 416 – USDA General Program Administrative Regulations for Grants and Cooperative Agreements to State and Local Governments

2 CFR Part 417 - Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension

2 CFR Part 418 - New Restrictions on Lobbying

2 CFR Part 421 - Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace (Financial Assistance)

2 CFR Part 422—Research Institutions Conducting USDA-Funded Extramural Research; Research Misconduct.

7 CFR Part 1, subpart A—USDA implementation of the Freedom of Information Act and 7 CFR Part 3404, Public Information.

7 CFR Part 1c—USDA Implementation of the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects

7 CFR Part 3—USDA implementation of OMB Circular No. A-129 regarding debt collection

7 CFR Part 15, subpart A—USDA implementation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended

7 CFR Part 331 and 9 CFR Part 121—USDA implementation of the Agricultural Bioterrorism Protection Act of 2002

7 CFR Part 3407—USDA procedures to implement the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended

7 CFR Part 3418—Stakeholder Input Requirements for Recipients of Agricultural Research, Education, and Extension Formula Funds

7 CFR Part 3419—Matching Funds Requirement for Agricultural Research and Extension Formula Funds at 1890 Land–Grant Institutions, Including Tuskegee University, and at 1862 Land–Grant Institutions in Insular Areas

7 CFR Part 3430—Competitive and Noncompetitive Non-formula Financial Assistance Programs--General Award Administrative Provisions

7 CFR Part 3434—Hispanic–Serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities Certification Process

29 U.S.C. 794 (section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973) and 7 CFR Part 15b (USDA implementation of statute) —prohibiting discrimination based upon physical or mental handicap in federally-assisted programs

35 U.S.C. 200 et seq. —Bayh Dole Act, controlling allocation of rights to inventions made by employees of small business firms and domestic nonprofit organizations, including universities, in federally-assisted programs (implementing regulations are contained in 37 CFR Part 401)

44 U.S.C. 3551-3558 (Pub. L. 113–283) - Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 (FISMA). Applies to awardees if it will collect, store, process, transmit, or use information on behalf of NIFA.

Executive Order 13513, Federal Leadership on Reducing Text Messaging while Driving (Oct. 1, 2009).

NIFA Federal Assistance Policy Guide—a compendium of basic NIFA policies and procedures that apply to all NIFA awards, unless there are statutory, regulatory, or award-specific requirements to the contrary.

In addition, the following represent Program-Specific requirements:

7 CFR Part 3400 – Special Research Grants Program (for CFDA 10.200)

7 CFR Part 3401—Rangeland Research Grants Program (CFDA 10.200)

7 CFR Part 3402—Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate and Postgraduate Fellowship Grants Program (CFDA 10.210).

7 CFR Part 3403—Small Business Innovation Research Grants Program (CFDA 10.212)

7 CFR Part 3405—Higher Education Challenge Grants Program (CFDA 10.217)

7 CFR Part 3406—1890 Institution Capacity Building Grants Program (CFDA 10.216)

7 CFR Part 3415 – Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program (CFDA 10.219)

7 CFR Part 3431—Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (CFDA 10.313)


Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2014: For FY 2014:
An example of a Research and Education project from the Western region is SW14-011: Farming for Native Bees. An example of a framer /rancher grant from the Northeastern region is FNE14-807: Evolving Cage Design for Floating Oyster Farms in Barnegat Bay, NJ. An example of a graduate student grant from the North Central region is GNC14-187: Improving Soil Health and Microbial Activity through Zone Tillage and Innovative Cover Cropping Strategies. An example of a Producer +Professional grant funded in 2014 in the Northeast is ONE14-200: Farm Incubators: Providing Training and Technical Assistance to Refugee Farmers in New Hampshire. An example of a Professional Development Program Grant is EW14-017: Building Business Management Capacity for American Indian Agricultural Businesses. Fiscal Year 2015: FY 2015 SARE Chapter 1 Projects:
An example of a Research and Education project from the Western region is SW15-008: The Feasibility of Cover Crops in Dryland Cropping Systems in SW Colorado and SE Utah. An example of a framer /rancher grant from the Northeastern region is FNE15-187: Mustard cover crops as biofumigants for organic strawberry production. An example of a framer /rancher grant from the Northeastern region is FNC 15-1018: Utilizing precision application of cover crops to minimize planting challenges while maximizing benefits to corn. An example of a graduate student grant from the Western region is GW15-046: Improved simple on-site soil quality testing for soils in the Intermountain West. An example of a Producer +Professional grant funded in 2015 in the Southern region is OS14-090: Investigating Artificial Native Bee Habitats as a Means to Boost Native Bee Pollination and Provide an Additional Revenue Source for Farmers. An example of a Professional Development Program Grant funded in the Northeastern region ENE15-141: Northeast SARE Regional Cover Crop Training.

SARE Chapter 3 Projects:
It is anticipated that project types formerly funded under this line will now be supported and reported under CFDA 10.215, pending final FY 2015 appropriations. Fiscal Year 2016: For FY 2016:
Information is not yet available. Pertinent details to be provided by Program at a future date.