New Research and Education grants in Wisconsin

Wisconsin researchers and educators have received three grants from the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE) to advance the sustainability of agriculture in the state.   Gregg Sanford at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has been awarded a $249,738 grant for the project, “The Soil Organic Carbon network (SOCnet): Farmers building soil assets to help mitigate and adapt to climate change in the North Central US.”  As Sanford explained, “We will build an on-farm soil organic carbon tracking network (SOCnet) to improve farmer livelihoods, build agricultural resilience, and fight climate change” 

Luis Peña-Lévano at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls received a $249,945 grant for the project, “Financial Feasibility and Environmental Implications of Adopting Automatic Milking Systems by Dairy Farms in Wisconsin and Minnesota.”  According to Dr. Peña-Lévano, “Our overarching goal is to understand the factors that drive the adoption of robotic milking by dairy farms in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Specifically, we will determine how transitioning from tie-stall or parlor milking to robotic milking affects business viability and environmental sustainability.”

Kate Wersan at the Savanna Institute in Madison, WI has been selected to receive a $249,597 grant for the project, “Novice-to-Producer Agroforestry Education: Linking Demonstration Farms to Online Learning, Apprenticeships, and Communities of Practice.”  “This project builds farmer-led educational content and delivery around a network of four at-scale agroforestry demo farms in Illinois and Wisconsin. We will integrate demo farm content into online courses and on-site capstones, matched with multimodal outreach and educational events,” said Wersan.

These grants were awarded as part of NCR-SARE’s Research and Education Program, a competitive grant program for researchers and educators involved in projects exploring and promoting environmentally sound, economically viable, and socially responsible food and/or fiber systems. Research and Education projects include a strong outreach component and significant farmer/rancher or other end user involvement from inception of the idea through implementation of the project. NCR-SARE administers each of its grant programs, each with specific priorities, audiences, and timelines. The focus for each of the NCR-SARE grant programs is on research and education.

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 regional agricultural stakeholders. Council members hail from regional farms and ranches, the Cooperative Extension Service, universities, federal agencies, and nonprofit organizations.