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Nevada Educator Receives $93,365 to Assist Small-Acreage Landowners

Posted 5/16/2007

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension water quality specialist Sue Donaldson and natural resources specialist Ed Smith have been awarded a $93,365 sustainable agriculture grant to update and expand a successful program that helps small-acreage landowners address water quality and related environmental issues.

The grant comes from the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, or Western SARE, a USDA program that provides grants to producers, educators, researchers and graduate students to sustain agriculture, the environment and rural communities.

Donaldson's and Smith's educational efforts will build on a successful 2001 Western SARE Professional Development grant in which she created Living on the Land: Stewardship for Small Acreages. Living on the Land provides a curriculum for helping landowners set goals and create management plans for soils, water, plants and animals. Since its launch, more than 1,200 copies have been distributed in more than 30 states and several foreign countries, with additional copies downloaded from the Web.

Because of continued requests for training and additions to the program, the new grant will be used to conduct training in two workshops for 100 agricultural educators. They also will add training modules on reducing wildfire threat and on marketing and economics for owners of small parcels.

The grant to Donaldson and Smith brings the total Western SARE funding in Nevada to 27 grants worth $692,444 since the SARE program began in 1988.

USDA recently announced that Western SARE will receive $3.55 million to fund grants for the coming fiscal year. Applications are available on the Western SARE website under "apply for a grant." Summaries of the 2006 and previous years' grants can be found on the website under "projects." For more information call Western SARE's host institution, Utah State University, at 435-797-2257 or email

Western SARE Background:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program comprises four regions, Western, Southeast, Northeast and North Central. The Western region includes the states Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming and the U.S. Pacific island protectorates American Samoa, Guam, Micronesia and Northern Mariana Islands.

The program funds competitive grants in five main categories:

  • Farmer/Rancher grants provide up to $15,000 (an increase from $10,000 in 2005) for an individual producer and $30,000 (an increase from $20,000 in 2005) for three or more producers to conduct on-farm research.
  • Professional and Producer grants are available to agriculture professionals working with producers; the limits are $15,000 with one producer and $30,000 with three or more producers.
  • Research and Education grants, which range between $20,000 and $200,000, are available to agricultural researchers, typically at land grant universities, for applied research involving agricultural producers.
  • Professional Development Program grants, ranging between $30,000 and $100,000 depending on length of funding and geographic focus, are designed to help ag-support professionals train other professional in sustainable agriculture concepts.
  • Graduate Fellow grants, worth up to $20,000 (an increase from $10,000 in 2005), can be used to assist students in their graduate research projects.

Contact Information: Sue Donaldson, 775-784-4848, Ed Smith, 775-782-9960,

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