Nebraska Cooperative Development Center

Dedicated to assisting people prosper in rural areas by helping them work together through
cooperative business development

NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher Grant Call for Proposals

The 2016 North Central Region - Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE) Farmer Rancher Grant Call for Proposals is now available online at .

Farmers and ranchers in the North Central region are invited to submit grant proposals to explore sustainable agriculture solutions to problems on the farm or ranch.  Proposals should show how farmers and ranchers plan to use their own innovative ideas to explore sustainable agriculture options and how they will share project results. Sustainable agriculture is good for the environment, profitable, and socially responsible. Projects should emphasize research or education/demonstration. 

There are three types of competitive grants: individual grants ($7,500 maximum), team of two grants for two farmers/ranchers from separate operations who are working together ($15,000 maximum), and group grants for three or more farmers/ranchers from separate operations who are working together ($22,500 maximum). NCR-SARE expects to fund about 40 projects in the twelve-state North Central Region with this call. A total of approximately $400,000 is available for this program.

NCR-SARE will be accepting online submissions for the Farmer Rancher Grant Program. More information about the online submission system can be found in the call for proposals.

Interested applicants can find the call for proposals online as well as useful information for completing a proposal at . You can find more information about sustainable agriculture at or take a free National Continuing Education Program online course about the basic concepts at .

Proposals are due on December 3, 2015 at 4 pm CST. 

Potential applicants with questions can contact Joan Benjamin, Associate Regional Coordinator and Farmer Rancher Grant Program Coordinator, at  or 573-681-5545 or 800-529-1342. Applicants should also contact Joan Benjamin if they need a hard copy or an email version of the call for proposals. We make revisions to our calls for proposals each year, which means it is crucial to use the most recent call for proposals.

Nebraska SARE's North Central Region State Sustainable Agriculture Coordinators is Gary Lesoing of Nebraska Extension in Nemaha county.  Gary can provide information and assistance to potential grant applicants. Gary’s contact information is:

Gary Lesoing, Extension Educator, Nebraska State SARE Coordinator, Nebraska Extension, Nemaha County, (402) 274-4755

Nation's Ag Co-ops Set Records for Income and Revenue

USDA Also Reports Revenue Data for the Top 100 Co-ops

WASHINGTON, Oct. 7, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the nation's farmer, rancher and fishery cooperatives posted record income and revenue in 2014.

As part of USDA's observance of October as National Cooperative Month, Vilsack previewed a USDA report to be released later this month that shows cooperatives earned $6.5 billion in net income and generated $246.7 billion in total revenue last year.

Net income increased 16.5 percent while revenue rose 0.4 percent from 2013. Co-ops set records for income and revenue in 2014 for the fourth year in a row.

"The nation's co-ops are essential to the U.S. economy and to rural America," Vilsack said. "The income they generate is reinvested or returned to members who spend it in their local communities. USDA is proud to continue its support of the cooperative movement."

Ag co-op employment increased 0.4 percent to 191,000 people in 2014. The number of full-time co-op employees dipped slightly, 0.4 percent, while the number of part-time employees increased by 2 percent.

The total number of ag cooperatives declined from 2,186 in 2013 to 2,106 last year, a drop of nearly 4 percent. Despite the decline, co-op memberships grew by 1 percent, to just under 2 million. Many farmers and ranchers are members of more than one cooperative. In addition to providing supplies and marketing services to farmers and ranchers, the nation's co-ops provide telecommunications, energy, financial and other important services.

Vilsack recently signed a Cooperative Month proclamation that salutes the nation's cooperative business sector, which includes about 30,000 co-ops.

Top 100 Ag Co-ops

Also today, Secretary Vilsack previewed findings from USDA's annual rankings of the nation's Top 100 Ag Co-ops. Among other things, the rankings show that 15 of the Top 100 agricultural co-ops are headquartered in Iowa, the most of any state. Minnesota is home to the second most Top 100 agricultural co-ops, with 12 headquartered there. Nebraska is next with nine, followed by Illinois with six and California and Wisconsin, both with five. Indiana, Missouri and Ohio each have four Top 100 co-ops, while Kansas is home to three.

For co-op revenue, Minnesota ranks first, with $67.6 billion. Missouri is second at $21.4 billion, and Illinois is third at $14.1 billion.

According to the rankings, CHS Inc., a fuel, supply, grain and food cooperative based in Inver Grove Heights, Minn., is the nation's largest cooperative. It posted $43 billion in revenue in 2014. Rounding out the top three ag co-ops are Kansas City-based Dairy Farmers of America, with $18 billion in total revenue, and Land O'Lakes, headquartered in, St. Paul, Minn., with $15 billion in revenue

Find us on Facebook!