NCR-SARE Announces 2017 Research & Education, Graduate Student, and Professional Development Awards

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. 37 projects were awarded a total of more than $3 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 2017 Research and Education program, NCR-SARE awarded $2.2 million to 12 projects ranging from $120,000 to $199.944. 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:
• Wenjing Guan at Purdue University in Vincennes, IN was awarded $200,000 for the project, “Improving Seedless Cucumber Production to Diversify High Tunnel Crops in the North Central Region.”
• Tamara Benjamin at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN was awarded $194,663 for the project, “Organic Transition and Certification: Supporting Indiana Grain Farmers’ Capacity to Meet Market Demand.”
• Matt Raven at Michigan State University in Lansing, MI was awarded $151,408 for the project, “Land-Based Learning Centers: A Multi-generational Educational Approach to Promoting On-farm Sustainable Agriculture.”
• Nicolas Jelinski at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in Saint Paul, MN was awarded $198,529 for the project, “Collaborative Evaluation of Ecosystem Services Provided by Urban Agricultural Best Management Practices in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area.”
• Greg Schweser at the University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships in Saint Paul, MN was awarded $196,423 for the project, “Deep Winter Food Production in the North Central Region.”
• M. Scott Wells at the University of Minnesota in Saint Paul, MN was awarded $199,999 for the project, “Winter Camelina: New Cash Crop Opportunities for Sustainable Sugar Beet Production.”
• Allison Meyer at University of Missouri in Columbia, MO was awarded $199,732 for the project, “Characterization of Winter Forage Management in North Central Region Beef Cow-calf Operations.”
• Kathie Starkweather at tbe Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons, NE was awarded $200,000 for the project, “Honey Bees on the Farm: Connecting Women Beekeepers and Farmers for Environmental and Economic Benefit.”
• Sally Miller at The Ohio State University in Wooster, OH was awarded $149,349 for the project, “Optimizing Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation to Manage Emerging Soilborne Diseases in Tomato Protected Culture Systems in the North Central Region.”
• Chris Blanchard at Purple Pitchfork in Madison, WI was awarded $96,949 for the project, “Increasing Market-Farm Enterprise Resilience in Response to Significant Weather Events, Life Events and Other Threats to Livelihood: A Collaborative Response to Known Quality of Life Concerns.”
• Julie Dawson at The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System in Madison, WI was awarded $199,915 for the project, “Improving Farmer Options for Sustainable and Profitable Direct-market Tomato Production and Hoop House Management in the Upper Midwest.”
• Walter Goldstein at Mandaamin Institute in Elkhorn, WI was awarded $196,088 for the project, “Testing N Efficient, High Methionine Corn Hybrids with Organic Farmers.”
For the 2017 Graduate Student program, NCR-SARE awarded more than $214,000 to 18 projects ranging from $11,154 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:
• Moriah Bilenky along with Professor Ajay Nair at Iowa State University in Ames, IA was awarded $11,977 for the project, “Integration of Poultry and Cover Crops for Soil Health in Vegetable Production.”
• Scott Clem along with Professor Alexandra Harmon-Threatt at the University of Illinois in Urbana, IL was awarded $11,993 for the project, “Understanding Aphidophagous Hoverfly Winter Survival Strategies in Midwest Farmscapes to Improve Conservation Biological Control.”
• Nithin Jayaram Shetty along with Professor Krishna S.V. Jagadish at Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS was awarded $11,984 for the project, “Unlocking Wild Wheat Potential for Enhancing Water use Efficiency and to Sustain Yield Gains under Extreme Water-deficit and Heat Stress.”
• Stephen Morgan along with Professor Nicole Mason at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI was awarded $11,970 for the project, “Measuring Farmer Response to the Rate of Agricultural Innovation: Experimental Evidence from Michigan.”
• Alyssa Tarrant along with Professor Zachary Hayden at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI was awarded $12,000 for the project, “Optimizing Between-bed Management Strategies in Plasticulture Vegetables for Improved Crop Production and Soil Health.”
• Emily Anderson along with Professor Satoshi Ishii at the University of Minnesota in St Paul, MN was awarded $11,929 for the project, “Enhancing Edge-of-field Woodchip Bioreactors to Reduce Nitrogen Leaching using Bioaugmentation and Biostimulation.”
• Eric Nazareno along with Professor Shahryar Kianian at the University of Minnesota in Saint Paul, MN was awarded $11,999 for the project, “Identification and Pyramiding of Candidate Genes Controlling Adult Plant Resistance in Oats Against Crown Rust Disease.”
• Becky Zhong along with Professor Kevin Smith at the University of Minnesota in Saint Paul, MN was awarded $11,986 for the project, “Assessing Agroecosystem Services and End-use Malting Quality of Winter Barley in a Soybean-winter Barley Double Cropping System in the Upper Midwest.”
• Justin Keay along with Professor Jaime Pinero at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, MO was awarded $11,703 for the project, “Evaluation of Early Maturing Cereal Rye / Hairy-vetch Cover Crop Varieties and their Effects on Subsequent Cash Crop Planting Date, Maturity and Yield in Organic No-till Summer Squash Production.”
• Michael Patterson along with Professor Xi Xiong at the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO was awarded $11,154 for the project, “Developing an Innovative Approach for Control of Billbug on Sod Farms.”
• Allison Butterfield along with Professor Samuel Wortman at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in Lincoln, NE was awarded $11,990 for the project, “Integrating Weed and Nutrient Management in Hop (Humulus lupulus) Production using Organic Amendments.”
• Mary Lenz along with Professor Mary Drewnoski at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln in Lincoln, NE was awarded $11,947 for the project, “Evaluating Nitrate Toxicity Potential in Grazed Cover Crops.”
• Mitchell (Ben) Samuelson along with Professor Samuel Wortman at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in Lincoln, NE was awarded $11,993 for the project, “Assessing Microbial Communities of Aqueous Compost Extracts and their Effects on Mulch and Crop Residue Degradation.”
• Denisha Parker along with Professor Mary Gardiner at The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH was awarded $11,924 for the project, “Lady Beetle in the City: Does Diet Overlap Explain Patterns of Native Lady Beetle Abundance in Urban Farms and Greenspaces?”
• Adrian Pekarcik along with Professor Kelley Tilmon at The Ohio State University in Wooster, OH was awarded $11,995 for the project, “Entomopathogenic Nematode Control of the Asiatic Garden Beetle (Maladera castanea) in Corn.”
• Jacob Henden along with Professor Christelle Guédot at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Madison, WI was awarded $11,919 for the project, “Effect of Landscape on Migration of Japanese Beetle into Vineyards across Southern Wisconsin.”
• Elizabeth McNamee along with Professor Christopher Kucharik at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI was awarded $11,882 for the project, “Understanding Irrigation Technologies and Grower Decision-making in the Wisconsin Central Sands.”
• Greg Richardson along with Professor Matt Ruark at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI was awarded $11,906 for the project, “The Effect of Best Management Practices on Soil Health in Wisconsin: A Comparison of Soil Biological Measurements Using Long-Term Trials.”
For the 2017 Professional Development Program, NCR-SARE awarded more than $517,000 to seven projects ranging from $68,970 to $75,000. NCR-SARE Professional Development Program competitive grants emphasize training agricultural educators in extension, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, private, and not-for-profit sectors, using farmers as educators and addressing emerging issues in the farm community. The following awarded projects are in order by state:
• Ajay Nair with Iowa State University in Ames, IA was awarded $74,994 for the project, “Training Extension Educators and Local Food Professionals on Sustainable Vegetable Pest Management Tools and Techniques.”
• Eileen Kladivko with Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN was awarded $74,680 for the project, “Midwest Cover Crops Council – Cover Crop Decision Tool.”
• Theresa Keaveny with the Sustainable Farming Association (SFA) in New Ulm, MN was awarded $75,000 for the project, “SFA Networking for Soil Health.”
• Rebecca Masterman with the University of Minnesota Bee Squad in Saint Paul, MN was awarded $75,000 for the project, “Training an Influential Network of Farming, Beekeeping and Extension Experts to Promote Bee Health.”
• Jill Hapner with GrassWorks, Inc. in West Bend, WI was awarded $74,610 for the project, “Promoting Grazing as a Sustainable Farming Method to Agency Staff in Wisconsin.”
• Laura Paine with Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship in Columbus, WI was awarded $74,107 for the project, “Enhancing the Quality of Work-based Beginning Farmer Training Programs Through Trainer Professional Development.” Paine’s project has been named as the 2017 Paula Ford Professional Development Program 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 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.
• Luther Smith with the American Society of Agronomy in Madison, WI was awarded $68,970 for the project, “Sustainable Agronomy.”
View NCR-SARE’s 2017 funded projects along with 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.

About Laurie Vial

I am the Communication Specialist with the NCIPMC. lvial@illinois.edu.
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