Grant funding available for grower training and education

The four regional Extension Risk Management Education (ERME) Centers are accepting applications for the ERME Competitive Grant Program consisting of two funding opportunities: ERME Grant and Risk Management Education for Producers Underserved by Crop Insurance, with eligible applicants able to receive from $50,000 to $100,000 in grant funding for certain projects. Grant applications are due on November 19, 2020. No match is required.      

What is the purpose of the ERME Competitive Grant Program? The purpose is to educate agricultural producers and provide technical assistance to agricultural producers on a full range of farm viability and risk management activities.

What are the primary risks that projects need to address? One or more of the following five areas of risk should be addressed through project activities:

  1. Production Risk – Any production-related activity or event with a range of possible outcomes which could limit ag producers’ ability to achieve their financial goals is a production risk.
  2. Marketing Risk – Marketing is the part of a farm business that transforms production activities into financial success. Marketing risk is any market related activity or event that leads to the variability of prices ag producers receive for their products or pay for production inputs.
  3. Financial Risk – Financial risk encompasses those risks that threaten the financial health of the business, including: 1) Capital cost and availability; 2) Ability to meet on-time cash flow needs; 3) Ability to maintain and grow equity; and 4) Ability to absorb short-term financial shocks.
  4. Legal Risk – Legal risk involves commitments that have legal implications, such as production activities that fail to take appropriate safety precautions, marketing products which can involve contract laws and human issues dealing with employer/employee rules.
  5. Human Risk – Human risk management is the ability to keep all people who are involved in the business safe, satisfied and productive such as: a) Human health and well-being; b) Family and business relationships; c) Employee management; and d) Transition planning

What are the two funding opportunities under the ERME Competitive Grant Program? The two funding opportunities under the ERME Grant Program are: ERME grant and Risk Management Education for Producers Underserved by Crop Insurance. Although they share a common purpose and objectives, they do have unique differences, requirements, and funding levels, as detailed below. While the four regional ERME centers have released Request for Applications (RFA) for these programs, this blog will focus on the RFAs released by the Western Center that serves Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands. To find out more about RFAs released from the remaining ERME centers, visit this website.

ERME Grant

What types of projects are eligible under the ERME grant?  This year, the Western Center will consider applications in two categories: 1) 2021 Education Projects with awards up to $50,000. 2) 2021 Exploratory Projects with awards up to $5,000.

What are Education Projects? They are results and outcome-based risk management education projects designed to help producers learn and use tools and approaches that can reduce the adverse effects of the uncertainties of weather, yields, prices, credit, government policies, global markets and other factors, including human resources and legal issues – all of which may result in wide swings in farm income or threaten the economic viability of the farm or ranch. Applications must clearly identify what the risk management results and outcomes will be for producers and how they will improve their economic viability. Applications must also develop and use measurable outcome verification to evaluate the progress that participating producers make toward achieving the proposed risk management results.

What are Exploratory Projects? Exploratory projects initiate new ideas through producer education programs which address farmer/rancher risk management education needs; including the priority areas listed above. Exploratory projects can be used to organize and host a producer education workshop or conference, or be used for development projects that lead to application for a full education project in either 2021 or 2022. Exploratory project awards of up to $5,000 are available to support producer risk management education.

What kind of applicants are eligible? Any public or private organization that has demonstrated experience in providing agricultural education or other agriculturally related training to producers including forestland owners. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • An 1862, 1890, or 1994 land grant institution, or other institutions of higher education, including community colleges, that deliver agricultural education.
  • An Indian tribal community college, an Alaska Native cooperative college, an Indian tribe, or a national tribal organization
  • A Hispanic-serving institution of higher education, Agricultural organizations, agencies, or other entities.

What risk management topics need to be covered for this project? ERME grant applications must address one or more of the risk management areas and topics:

1. Production Risk

  • Agri-tourism
  • Economic risks of new technologies
  • Insurance products
  • Product and enterprise diversification
  • Transition to new production systems
  • Water use decisions

2. Marketing Risk

  • Analysis of market fundamentals
  • Cash and futures pricing tools including commodities and inputs
  • Marketing plans and strategies
  • Branded, certified or identity preserved marketing
  • Direct marketing
  • Contract Production

3. Financial Risk

  • Alternative energy investments
  • Asset management including leasing, renting, and borrowing
  • Business and strategic planning
  • Cost of production and farm financial benchmarking
  • Economics of input decisions
  • Financial records and analysis
  • Value-added enterprises

4. Legal Risk

  • Federal and state farm programs
  • Contracts and leases
  • Environmental regulations
  • Food safety liability
  • Labor regulations
  • Personal and business liability

5. Human Risk

  • Employee management and communication
  • Health, stress, and well being
  • Interpersonal, family and business relationships
  • Labor supply, recruitment, and retention
  • Transition and estate planning

What is the project duration? The estimated project period for awards will be 18 months beginning on April 1, 2021 and completed no later than September 30, 2022.

What is the funding availability? Each regional ERME Center anticipates awarding approximately 15-20 new grants from this announcement, subject to the availability of funds and the quality of applications received. The maximum amount of requested funding shall not exceed $50,000 for Education Projects and $5,000 for Exploratory Projects.

Is there a match required? ERME does not allow matching support, which includes in-kind services for this program.

When is the due date? Applications must be submitted to Extension Risk Management’s Results Verification website by 5:00:59 PM (Pacific Standard Time) on November 19, 2020.

The ERME grant full Request for Applications can be found here.

Risk Management Education for Producers Underserved by Crop Insurance

What are the key objectives of this program? The key objectives of this program are to help producers who are underserved by crop insurance understand the risks inherent in their operation, the methods and tools available to mitigate these risks, how to effectively use these methods and tools, and how to manage risk by implementing these methods and tools. Applications must articulate the primary source(s) of risk faced by their target audience and develop training activities that will help those producers take specific actions that generate measurable results from managing these risks.

What other topics are eligible for this program? Project may include strategies other than crop insurance; however, the educational focus should align with an enhanced understanding and use of crop insurance tools. Examples include recordkeeping, financial literacy, or marketing, as well as risk management strategies to use when a crop insurance program is not available or not applicable. See more examples of crop insurance education topics on page 5-6 of the program’s RFA (see below).

What kind of applicants are eligible? Any public or private organization that has demonstrated experience in providing agricultural education or other agriculturally related training to producers including forestland owners. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • An 1862, 1890, or 1994 land grant institution, or other institutions of higher education, including community colleges, that deliver agricultural education.
  • An Indian tribal community college, an Alaska Native cooperative college, an Indian tribe, or a national tribal organization.
  • A Hispanic-serving institution of higher education, agricultural organizations, agencies, or other entities.
  • Not for profit organizations, state departments of agriculture or community-based organizations.

What is the project duration? The estimated project period for awards will be 18 months beginning on April 1, 2021 and completed no later than September 30, 2022.

What is the funding availability for this grant? Each regional ERME Center anticipates awarding approximately 7-8 new grants from this announcement, subject to the availability of funds and the quality of applications received. The maximum award amount is $100,000.

Is there a match required? ERME does not allow matching support, which includes in-kind services for this program.

What is the application deadline? Applications must be submitted to Extension Risk Management’s Results Verification website by 5:00:59 PM (Pacific Standard Time) on November 19, 2020.

The full Request for Applications can be found here.

For more information on these grants or how to apply with Morrison's assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at grants@morrisonco.net or call us at 530-893-4764.

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