NCR-SARE announces producer grant recipients

By Jennifer Robison

Posted September 28, 2004: The North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) program is pleased to announce that 51 Producer Grant Proposals have been selected for funding. A total of $391,678 will be disbursed in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Every farmer and rancher will use the funding to implement a sustainable farm project.

In Illinois, Louis Reuschel of Golden, a previous NCR-SARE grantee, was funded $5,910 for his project, “Conducting a Variety Trial to Find the Best Marketable Organic Tomato Product.” In Wheeler, Don Spiker received $4,048 to investigate “Use of Worm Casting Extract in Ag Production.” Michael Vincent of Hull was awarded $4,933 for his project, “Integrated Cultural Production Methods for Maximum Okra Seed Yields.” Lori Bahre of Oakdale was funded $4,848 to explore “Growing Fish and Plants in an Aquaponic System.” Brenda Lyons of Sandoval was awarded $5,998 to explore sustainable, year-round aquaculture in her project, “Three Little Fishes.” Lisa Haynes of Mahomet received $1,405 to implement her project, “Determination of Economically Optimal Organic Control of Onion Maggots in Allium Crops.” Louis Reuschel of Golden, a previous NCR-SARE grantee, was funded $5,910 for his project, “Conducting a Variety Trial to Find the Best Marketable Organic Tomato Product.” Finally, Chicagoan Kristine Greiber was awarded a $5,950 grant for her project, “Resource Center City Farm.”

In Indiana, Roanoke producer Dan Flotow received $5,297 to implement his project, “Benefits and Evaluation of the Application of Compost Tea in Growing Organic Vegetables.”

In Iowa, Solveig Hanson of Postville leads a team of producers exploring “Functional Value-Added Fruit and Vegetable Processing, Product Development, and Marketing for Small Farms.” The team received $17,646. Greg Koether of McGregor and a team of other producers were awarded $18,000 for their project, “Value-Added Forestry Through a Cooperative.” In Plainfield, Gary Laydon was awarded $2,698 for his project, “Wood-fired Heat for an Alternative Winter Farrowing System.” “Growing Peas as a Protein Source for Organic Livestock” is the proposed outcome of William Welsh’s project in Lansing, for which he received a $1,031grant. Finally, Jeff and Jill Burkhart of Woodward were awarded $5,940 for their project, “Picket Fence Creamery: Milk from Cow to Carton, Bridging the Gap Between City and Country Through Website Education and a Field Day Open House."

In Kansas, Becky Walters of Burns received $6,000 to implement her project, “Pumpkin Patch Salsa.” Melvin Williams from Lawrence was awarded $5,863 to investigate “Transition of a Conventional Beef Cattle Operation to Sustainable Agricultural Beef Cattle Operation and Evaluation of Alternative Pasture Usage and Hay Field Fertilizer Practices in Northern Kansas.” In Matfield Green, NCR-SARE awarded $6,000 to Jane Kroger for her project, “Homestead Range Renewal Initiative (HRRI).” Finally, Irwin Porter of Quinter was awarded $1,990 for his project, “Sustainable Ongoing Agricultural Research (SOAR) Project Utilizing Sunflowers and Austrian Winter Peas as a Cover Crop to Produce Bio-Diesel Fuel and Organic Nitrogen Fertilizer.”

In Michigan, Philip Throop of Bath is the recipient of $3,033 to explore “A Comparison of the Profitability of Subsoil Heated and Unheated Hoophouses vs. Field Production of Cool-Climate Salad Crops in Central Lower Michigan.” Mike Iho of Trenary received $2,197 for his second NCR-SARE grant, “Comparing Alfalfa and Red Clover as Economical Dairy Cow Forage.” In Owosso, Cindy Garber was awarded $4,166 for her project, “Garber's Summer Farm Day Camp.” Sam Catey of Charlotte leads a team of producers who received $12,475 to explore “Free Range Egg Cooperative.”

In Minnesota, Eric Mader of Lauderdale was awarded $6,000 for his project, “Commercial Production of Osmia lignaria in Minnesota.” In Duluth, Lois Hoffbauer received $6,000 to explore “Evaluation of Raspberries Grown in High Tunnels for a Northern Climates.” Sean Albiston of Manning has $3,960 to implement his project, “Sustainable Small Farm Promotion Using Novel Market Stand.” Don DeWeerd of Pipestone is the project coordinator of a group of producers -- who received $16,150 as a group -- for their project, “Improved Management of Rye Cover Crops for Organic Soybean Production.” Paula Westmoreland and a team of other producers in Minneapolis were awarded $13,733 for their project, “Designing and Validating Plant Communities/Cropping Systems for Multiple Benefits.” Constance Karstens of Hutchison is the project coordinator for a producer team project, “Advanced Techniques for Sustained Marketing Success of Team Farmers,” for which they got $17,146 in funding. Bob Hassett of Big Lake was awarded $5,000 for his project, “Connecting Meat Goat Producers to Existing Ethnic Consumers.” In Lake City, Fred Keller received $5,600 to explore “How Fall Cutting vs. Fall Residue Affects Yield and Quality of Alfalfa the Next Year.” Michele Skogrand of Montevideo leads a team that will implement “Decorative Woody Florals Learning Circle,” with funding of $9,454. Ardie Eckardt of Odessa was awarded $2,181 for “Expanding Consumer Interest and Home Gardeners' Use of Heritage Tomato Varieties.”

In Missouri, Troy Hart of Lonedell is implementing a novel method of blueberry production in his project, “U-Pick Blueberry Farm Pre-Production Partnership Income.” He will receive $6,000 in funding. Heather O'Connor of Columbia will be granted $6,000 to explore optimal ginseng production with her project, “Interplanting Ginseng With Other Native Shade Plants for Fungal Control, Short- and Long-term Profitability.” Finally, Earnest Bohner of Lampe received $6,000 in NCR-SARE funding to research the “Potential Success of On-Farm Freeze Dried Products.”

In Nebraska, Curt Arens of Crofton leads a team who received $11,357 in funding for a radio project, "Farm to Family Connection.” In Lincoln, Andy Witkowski was awarded $5,995 for an “Urban Gardening Project.” Mary Ann Wellnitz is experimenting with sheep and goats to control leafy spurge on her ranch near Rushville. She received $6,000 for her project, “Multi-Species Spurge Control.” Charuth van Beuzekom Loth leads a team of producers near Lincoln to explore “Farmstead First: A Dairy Processing Facility.” They were funded $17,612. In Lewellen, O. Lynn Myers is the project coordinator of a team that was awarded $17,988 for their project, “Developing Mentor Networks for Enhanced Outreach in the Range Livestock Industry.”

In North Dakota, Elmer Bakke of McVille leads a team of producers who received $17,120 for their project, “Developing and Maintaining Sustainable Agroforestry and Natural Resource Systems on the Middle Sheyenne Watershed in East-Central North Dakota.” William Satrom of Page leads a group who were awarded $18,000 to establish the “Quad County Farmers Cooperative.”

In Ohio, Patricia Tillis of Athens is using a novel approach to blueberry farming in her project, “Use of Acid Reclaimed Mine Land for Commercial Blueberry Production,” for which she received a $6,000 NCR-SARE grant. Barry Adler of Plain City was awarded $5,850 to implement his project, “RainFresh Harvests Year-Round Food Production System for Central Ohio.” C. Linda Slater of Caldwell is exploring ways to produce hazelnuts and create a local economic resource in her project, “Development of a Sustainable Hazelnut Production Industry for Noble County, Ohio,” for which she received a $4,590 grant. Tim Patrick of Danville was awarded $5,624 for his project, “Organic Food Trail.” Finally, Kathy Bielek of Big Prairie received a $5,580grant for her sustainable animal production project, “Sustainable Internal Parasite Control for Sheep in a Forage Based System.”

In South Dakota, Lawrence Kocer of Martin leads a group of producers who received $15,066 for their project, “LaCreek Growing Solutions.” In Goodwin, Phil Raml was awarded $3,162 to implement his project, “North 5 Field Education Unit Grazing/Pasture Management Tour, South Dakota State University Cooperative Extension.”

In Wisconsin, Chuck Bolstad of Viroqua is leading a group of producers exploring ways to capitalize on a local resource and create an economic resource with “Developing the Upper Mississippi River Valley's Untapped Resource: Organic Maple Syrup,” for which the group received a $13,800 NCR-SARE grant. Julia Maro of Mondovi is hoping to take advantage of the organic chicken market with her $5,980-funded project, “Establishing a Wisconsin Hatchery to Produce and Sell Organically Raised Pastured Poultry Chicks.” Rebecca Lemieux of Odanah was awarded $3,302 for her project, “The Bad River Orchard Project,” with which she will establish a demonstration orchard at the Bad River Indian Reservation

The USDA-funded NCR-SARE program provides competitive grants to farmers, educators, graduate students, and researchers furthering economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable agriculture. Once a year, NCR-SARE calls for grant proposals from farmers and ranchers, then forwards those proposals to a Review Committee, made up of ag producers and other experts. After all the proposals have been scrutinized, the NCR-SARE Administrative Council selects projects to be funded.

For more information on the USDA-funded NCR-SARE program, its competitive grant program, or to be notified of NCR-SARE’s call for grant proposals, contact, 402.472.7081, or 1.800.529.1342.

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