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Seed Money Available for Ohio Farmers With Big Ideas

October 20, 2008

Columbus, OH - It's not just the harvest keeping Ohio farmers busy these days. Many are doing their homework to put together plans to protect natural habitat, bring benefits to their communities and increase profits. They're applying for this year's "Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program," also known as "SARE." The deadline to apply is Dec. 1.

The grants will give farmers money for research proposals for projects that would help make their operation more sustainable, according to Ohio SARE coordinator Mike Hogan.

"A lot of farmers use it for marketing. We've also had folks who want to decrease the amount of chemicals they use. Other farmers do some value-adding: Maybe someone who grows apples wants to start producing jellies or wine."

Hogan says the money is for research on sustainable practices that many farmers would not be able to do otherwise.

"It's just a little extra seed money for folks who may be considering something. Sometimes that's just enough to get somebody over the hump who maybe doesn't have the money to try something different."

Ohio farmers are competing with those in 11 other states for funding. Hogan says with so much competition for the grants, more funding should be available.

"We get more very worthy proposals than there is money to fund. The amount that folks can receive has stayed the same but obviously costs have gone up dramatically."

A bill that would add more money to the program has been put on hold due to the elections. Sustainable agriculture advocates are pushing for Congress to take it up early in 2009.

More information is available at www.sare.org.

Mary Kuhlman/Steve Powers, Public News Service - OH