Research and education CFP 1997 tip sheet

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Research and education CFP 1997 tip sheet
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Educational research ( jstor )
Interdisciplinary research ( jstor )
Farmers ( jstor )

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Avoid these
proposal pitfalls

9 Format violations.
Each year proposals are rejected
because they violate length,
margin, type size or other format
requirements designed to give
every proposal an equal chance.

S Narrow focus.
As of this year, only systems-
oriented projects are being
solicited by the Southern
Region. In acknowledgment of
the extra time required to plan
projects that involve whole farm
systems or whole watersheds,
planning grants for the develop-
ment of large-scale grants will
also be considered. Preproposals
that examine only specific crops
or treatments will not be selected
for development into full

Lacks institutional
Few weaknesses hurt a proposal
as much as the one-man-band
approach. Likewise, the Techni-
cal Advisory Committee can
spot when diverse institutions,
participants or organizations
have been tacked on for appear-
ances sake at the end rather than
included from the beginning.

Poor research
No matter how noble the topic,
SARE/ACE can't fund poorly
designed research. Approach
and methods must support
objectives. An evaluation
component must be included.

The SARE/ACE year begins with
a the issuance of calls for proposals for
three grant programs. This year the
calls are being released as follows:
Research and Education Grants,
July 1996; Producer Grants,
October 1996; and Training Grants,
July 1996. The rigorous review and
evaluation process results in a new
crop of recipients the following spring.
Three types of grants
Research and Education projects
were the original recipients of SARE/
ACE funds. These generally are led by
interdisciplinary, multi-institutional,
multi-state research teams that include
farmers as participants.
While farmers are not prohibited
from applying for Research and
Education Grants, it is difficult for
them to compete in this category due
to the emphasis on multi-state, multi-
institutional, interdisciplinary research.
Producer Grants were started in
1994 to take advantage of producer
experience and knowledge. They are
developed, coordinated and conducted
by producers or producer organiza-
* tions. These projects are generally
, located in one state, often on one farm.
There is a $10,000 limit on funding for
Producer Grants.
The Research and Education CFP
and the Producer CFP are mailed as
inserts in Common Ground, so if you
are on the Common Ground mailing
list you will receive a CFP.

Professional Development
Program grants were implemented
nationwide in 1994 to train agricul-
tural information providers in
sustainable agriculture techniques and
concepts. The Southern Region
Training Consortium consists of
North Carolina State University,
North Carolina A&T and ATTRA.
For information about the Profes-
sional Development Call for Propos-
als contact Roger Crickenberger at
(919) 515-3252.
How to apply
There are a few regulations as to
who can apply for which grants. Most
applicants will fit naturally into one
category. However, if you question
which grant is most appropriate for
you call the Southern Region SARE/
ACE office at (770) 412-4787.
Time it right
Before you start, take note of the
timeline listed in the CFP in order to
budget your planning time. Don't
forget to include enough clerical or
secretarial time to hold planning
meetings, gather letters from partici-
pants and make sufficient copies for
the submission.
During the planning stages, make
sure farmers and other end-users are
actively involved. Refer often to the
priority areas, project types and other
information in the Call for Proposals
to make sure your proposal stays true
to SARE/ACE goals and policies.

Calendar for Research and Education Program
July Call for Research and Education preproposals is mailed as insert in
Common Ground.
September 3 Research and Education preproposals due. Review begins.
Mid-November Authors of iop-ranked Research and Education preproposals
are notified to develop full proposals.
December 16 Research and Education full proposals are due.
January 5 Full proposals are mailed to Technical Review Committee.
March 15 Technical Review Committee meets to review full proposals.
April 1-3 Administrative Council meets to award all grants

Which SARE/ACE program for you?

Regional Food Systems Priority
Regional food systems research is designated a priority
area for 1997 project funding by the Southern Region Ad-
ministrative Council.
Regional food systems projects will research, demon-
strate and promote food production and distribution meth-
ods that are economically viable for farmers and consum-
ers, ecologically sound and that function in a manner that
enhances quality of life in rural and urban communities.
Potential projects might include a regional food system
education plan on the value and accessibility of region-
ally produced food or an educational program about the
nutritional value of a regionally appropriate food pyra-
mid. It could identify barriers to on-farm value-added pro-
cesses, or it could link farmers with a farm market co-op
nutritional program.
Regional food systems projects may include consumers
and representatives from the processing and marketing
sectors, along with the usual SARE cooperators of farmers,
extensionists, researchers and public policy makers. There
already may be groups available for networking due to
the recent passage and funding of the Community Food
Securities Act,

While the SARE/ACE program
is dedicated to inclusiveness and
diversity in all policies and proce-
dures, we have not been funding thi
diversity of projects that we would
like to fund simply because the
majority of applicants are from
1862 land grant institutions.
The Administrative Council is
issuing a special invitation to
encourage submissions from 1890
land grant universities and non-
governmental organizations.
While technically sound research
in the arena of sustainable agricul-
ture is the foremost evaluation
criteria, preproposals also will be
judged on how well they reflect a
diversity of institutional affiliations

Systems research approaches are
particularly appropriate for the design
and evaluation of sustainable agricul-
ture systems, which are complex and
include managed ecosystems, natural
ecosystems, social and economic
systems that are linked and interre-
lated in complex ways that are not
easily quantifiable using traditional
research methods.
Systems analysis is based on the
premise that agricultural production
can be viewed and organized into
systems that maintain their identity and
integrity under a range of conditions
and that exhibit properties that must be
viewed holistically.
Wilson and Morren (1990) provide
an excellent overview of systems
research in their book entitled Systems
Approaches for Improvement in
Agriculture and Natural Resource
Management (MacMillan Publishing,
NY). They describe the primary
objectives in systems analysis as
seeking to understand: 1) interactions
among system components and
hierarchies; 2) system emergent

properties; 3) transformations that
occur between system components; 4)
system control processes; 5) system
communication links; 6) system
objectives and performance measures;
7) system environments; 8) system
resources, inputs and outputs; and 9)
details of management, ownership and
As is apparent from this descrip-
tion, systems research approaches can
be used at different scales within an
agricultural system and to study many
topics within sustainable agriculture.
Ecologists and engineers have used
systems research techniques for years,
and the application of systems
techniques to agricultural systems led
to the growth in studies using Farming
Systems Research and Extension
(FSRE) models, as well as
agroecological research techniques.
An emphasis on interdisciplinary
research teams, as well as the inclusion
of end users as partners throughout the
research process are characteristics of
all of these approaches.
For example, a systems research

project that addresses the environment
tally sound multiple land use priority
area might study the inclusion of a
small-scale aquacultural enterprise
within an integrated farming system.
Consequently, the research might
include measurements that elucidate
the impact of the enterprise on the
waste, energy, capital and labor flows
within the farm. Alternatively, a
systems research project focusing on
structural change in agriculture might
look at the impact of NAFTA on a
specific production sector, like
tomatoes, within the overall agricul-
tural systems. Such a study might
include research that would investigate
the differential impact of trade on the
production, marketing and consump-
tion sectors within the southern U.S.
In summary, there are many
different research topics that can be
studied using a systems approach. Fo
more information on systems ap-
proaches to research, please investi-
gate some of the references listed on
the 1997 Call for Proposals.