The U.S. Department of Agriculture's North Central Sustainable Agriculture, Research and Education program is offering a number of grants for farmers, educators and researchers working on projects in sustainable agriculture.

Individuals and groups are eligible to apply for the grants, which promote "ecologically sound, profitable and socially responsible farming and ranching," said Roy Ballard, Purdue Extension educator in Hancock County and Indiana SARE coordinator.

"These grants are a great opportunity for farmers and youth educators to try a new technique or system on their farm or extend youth outreach related to agricultural sustainability that they otherwise may not be able to afford," Ballard said.

The North Central region consists of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

The grants are:

* The 2017 NCR-SARE Research and Education Grant Program. This program supports projects with a strong outreach component and built by teams of farmers, researchers and educators. Past projects have explored diverse areas such as crop and livestock production, education, networking, soil and water quality, weed control, value-added marketing and quality of life. Individual grants from $10,000 to $200,000 will be awarded. Preproposals are due Oct. 20 and can be submitted online athttp://www.ciids.org/ncsare/repre/ or downloaded at http://bit.ly/2dGlWBc.

* The 2017 Partnership Grant Program. This grant is intended to increase cooperation between agriculture professionals and farmers in research, demonstration and educational activities, such as on-farm testing, curriculum development and marketing. Individual grants of up to $30,000 will be awarded. Proposals are due by Oct. 27 and can be submitted online athttp://www.ciids.org/ncsare/pg/ or downloaded at http://bit.ly/2dvJpCu.

* The 2017 Youth Educator Grant. Educators who encourage families to incorporate sustainable agriculture into their daily lives and promote it as a career option for youth can apply for this grant. Proposals may involve traditional agriculture as well as urban agriculture, aquaponics and season extension, among other areas, Ballard said. Proposals should promote sustainable agriculture's environmental, financial and social benefits to youth. Grants of up to $2,000 will be awarded. Proposals are due by Nov. 10 and can be submitted online at http://www.ciids.org/ncsare/ye/, or downloaded at http://bit.ly/2cWP6FG.

* The 2017 Farmer Rancher Grant. This grant is designed to enable farmers to explore and implement sustainable solutions to problems on their farms or ranches. Proposals should include a plan to share project results through research, education or demonstration. Grants are available for individual farmers (up to $7,500), two farmers from separate operations working together (up to $15,000), and groups of three or more farmers/ranchers from separate operations (up to $22,500). Proposals are due by Dec. 8, and can be submitted online at http://www.ciids.org/ncsare/fr/, or downloaded at http://bit.ly/2dxYget.

 A free webinar will be held from 10 a.m. to noon EDT on Oct. 24 to help participants learn about the Partnership, Youth Educator and Farmer Rancher grants and how to create a successful grant proposal. The webinar will be at https://purdue.webex.com/join/rballard. For information about the webinar, or help connecting, contact Ballard at 317-462-1113, rballard@purdue.edu.