Government Grants for Seeds

Seeds are a vital part of an agricultural endeavor, such as a farm or business. Government grants for agricultural projects ranging from education and research to sustainable farming practices and energy creation can support seed-based projects. Though a government agency might not expressly have a granting program for seeds, many agencies administered by the United States Department of Agriculture have grant programs for which seed-based proposals qualify.

  1. Sustainable Agriculture

    • The USDA administers grant funding for which seed-based projects are eligible, such as the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program. SARE supports profitable and environmentally responsible agricultural projects. To be competitive, your seed-based project should align with the SARE mission. For example, sewing wheat between growing seasons can stave off soil erosion and replenish the soil's nutrients; a SARE grant could help with the cost of buying seeds in bulk. Describe how the seeds you will plant will support sustainable and profitable growth as well as how you will use the grant funding.

    Energy-Producing Farms

    • Farms producing or supporting alternative energy projects -- such as ethanol production -- can qualify for a grant from the USDA's Rural Energy for America Program. REAP grants help fund renewable energy development in the rural United States by covering up to 25 percent of a project's total cost. A REAP grant can be used to purchase corn, switchgrass or soybean seed, all of which can be used to create alternative fuels. REAP grants are awarded in part based on financial need, so detail why you need the grant to buy seeds. Farmers, ranchers and small-business owners are eligible for REAP grants.

    Educational Farms

    • The cost of seed to sew an educational farm or to fund a research program can be covered by several government grants. The USDA's Alternative Farming Systems Information Center grants funding for classroom and on-farm research projects. A teacher could use AFSIC funding to purchase the seeds necessary to teach his students how to grow and care for plants in an urban setting, for example, or a graduate student could qualify for a grant to buy seeds to study crop pairing for her thesis. Consult the USDA's "Agricultural Research" magazine to get an idea of the sorts of projects AFSIC grants support.

    Heirloom Seeds

    • Heirloom and historical seeds are a source of diversity and cultural importance because they produce varieties of fruits and vegetables that are uncommon today, but have been widely used by farmers throughout history. National Institute of Food and Agriculture grants help fund organic agriculture research, which can include organic seeds. NIFA grants are for producers and processors who have already adopted organic food standards and would like to expand their capacities. A NIFA grant could help produce and distribute heirloom seeds for fruits, vegetables and flowers, many of which are organically produced.

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