Many organizations provide grants for youth agriculture projects that support and encourage youth involvement in agriculture and agribusiness. Projects involve education, public awareness, research and community development. The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides federal funds to states which award grants locally and regionally. Private foundations also support agricultural communities through grants to youth groups. Many youth agriculture grants are awarded to youth-led programs with a strong emphasis on leadership development.
The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, or SARE, program provides grants for agricultural projects led by youth eight to 18 years of age. The North Central Region SARE program supports farm-based research, education and demonstration programs in the following states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Grants are awarded in amounts up to $400. Funds may be used for teaching projects, workshops and camps that focus on sustainable agriculture. NCR-SARE provides on its website grant application forms, including proposal and budget forms. Applications require a parent’s signature. Send completed proposals to the NCR-SARE office by mail or email by the January deadline. A panel of farmers, educators and researchers evaluate proposals. The Administrative Council announces grant awards in March.
NCR-SARE Youth Grants Lincoln University South Campus Building 900 Leslie Blvd, Room 101 Jefferson City, MO 65101 800-529-1342 mo.gov
Building Our American Communities Grant
The Building Our American Communities, or BOAC, program provides grants to 4-H clubs and FFA chapters in Missouri. BOAC, a program of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, provides $12,000 in annual grants, which include 12 grants to 4-H groups and 12 grants to FFA, formerly known as Future Farmers of American, chapters. BOAC awards the $500 grants to eligible groups in six Missouri districts. Eligible projects benefit agricultural communities or community development. BOAC provides on its website separate applications for FFA and 4-H groups.
Missouri Department of Agriculture PO Box 630 1616 Missouri Blvd. Jefferson City, MO 65102 573-751-4211 mo.gov
Pennsylvania 4-H Grants
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture provides grants to 4-H groups in agriculture and agribusiness. Eligible projects involve recognition for 4-H participants and activities related to established 4-H agriculture fairs. Pennsylvania requires youth groups to submit grant applications through state-recognized adult advisory groups. Eligible applicants provide a minimum of 18 hours of agriculture or agribusiness activities. Pennsylvania DOA provides on its website a downloadable grant application. Complete applications include the notarized signatures of the group’s president or other officer and are due by the November 15 deadline. The Pennsylvania DOA decides grant amounts using a formula that groups 5-H groups in one of four tiers based on the number of members. Grant amounts range from $2,000 to $9,000.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture PA Agricultural Fair Program 2301 North Cameron St. Harrisburg, PA 17110 717-787-4737 pa.us
Funding for Agriculture and Sustainable Food Systems
The 1772 Foundation awards grants to 501(c)(3) organizations. Grants support projects involving agriculture and sustainable food systems. The Foundation’s areas of interest include farmer training, urban agriculture and youth farm education. Applicants submit one-page letters of inquiry, including project synopses and funding needs, through the form provided on the Foundation’s website. Letters of inquiry are due by the February deadline. The Foundation invites full applications after reviewing the letters.
The 1772 Foundation 1772foundation.org
The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture provides the White-Reinhardt Mini-Grants to county and state Farm Bureaus across the country. Grants are awarded in amounts up to $500 to support agriculture literacy projects for youth in grades K-12. Funds may be used to start or expand programs. Farm Bureau staff may contact the Foundation. School staff or other groups may contact their county or state Farm Bureau for information about the grants.
The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture 600 Maryland Ave., SW Suite 1000-W Washington, DC 20024 800-443-8456 agfoundation.org
Gail Sessoms, a grant writer and nonprofit consultant, writes about nonprofit, small business and personal finance issues. She volunteers as a court-appointed child advocate, has a background in social services and writes about issues important to families. Sessoms holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies.