8 Organizations Offering Grants in Agriculture Research and Development in the US

For many agtech entrepreneurs and innovators, finding the cash flow to get their idea off the ground is the most important step, but it can be tricky to know where to look. Fortunately, there are several grants and programs geared toward fueling agriculture research and innovation. Here are a few that we have found:

  • Maintained through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) offers a variety of programs designed to provide investment in and advancement for agricultural research, education, and extension. Program participants typically involve organizations and individuals focused on solving societal challenges. NIFA’s programs are diverse and plentiful, including a Small Business Innovation Research Program, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, Pest Management Programs, and a Specialty Crop Research Initiative. In April 2015, NIFA announced three grants designed to boost food security by minimizing livestock losses to insects and diseases. The awards to support research, education, and Extension efforts were made through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), which is authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.
  • Agricultural Technology Adoption Institute (ATAI): The mission of ATAI is to develop and test programs that help small-scale farmers in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa adopt and profitably use agtech. Twice a year, ATAI conducts a grant-making competition soliciting research proposals to either directly research technology adoption or to evaluate the impact of technology adoption. The eight-week selection process involves a proposal assessment, peer review scoring, and board review scoring.
  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation offers a robust program funding agricultural research and projects that help farming families increase production in a sustainable way while combating hunger and poverty around the globe. BMGF’s Agricultural Development initiative is one of the largest projects in the foundation. To date, the foundation has committed over $2 billion to the initiative. The Seattle-based initiative focuses on a few key areas, including research and development, livestock, and market access. The initiative engages in some direct solicitation while sending direct invitations to organizations and individuals whose work fits with the foundation’s goals. When it wants to broaden its investments, it sends out a Request for Proposal, either publicly or privately to targeted recipients.
  • The Rockefeller Foundation’s Food Waste and Spoilage Initiative explores and funds inventions that focus on, among other things, cost-effective, high-potential technologies that reduce food waste. Through its work, the initiative discovered that hermetic bags can reduce on-farm storage loss by more than 90 percent and that mobile processing units can help farmers reduce costs through sharing agreements. The foundation also feature’s an Oceans and Fisheries Initiative seeking to increase the health and productivity of local fisheries by decreasing unsustainable fishing pressures and providing equitable solutions for impoverished fishing communities. For information on specific grants available through these and other Rockefeller Foundation initiatives, click here.
  • The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation offers grants in a variety of sectors, including environmental conservation. The foundation’s Environment Program provides grants to organizations dedicated to conserving the North American West, expanding clean energy sources, and addressing climate change. For agtech entrepreneurs and startups focusing on providing farmers with more sustainable tools to help feed our ever-increasing population, the Environment Program could be a good fit.
  • The 2014 Farm Bill also created and refunded many programs to help farmers, ranchers, researchers, and entrepreneurs help ensure a bright future for agriculture. These programs target everything from Beginning & Socially Disadvantaged Farmers/Ranchers, Conservation, Food Safety, Local Food Systems, Organics, and Sustainability.

Grant opportunities don’t just exist for startups and entrepreneurs. Farmers who want to increase their tech knowledge or find out how to run their businesses better have quite an array of options. The U.S. Department of Agriculture alone hosts a variety of programs through its many branches.

  • Each year, the Risk Management Agency (RMA) announces the availability of funds for partnerships and cooperative agreements through the Federal Register, a publication used to announce proposed regulations. For 2015, RMA is offering $7 million in grants to create risk management education and training programs. RMA also provides crop insurance education in certain targeted states around the country. Through these programs, producers will receive assistance in understanding and using crop insurance programs as well as other risk management stratagies so they can make the best decisions for their operations. Offerings are typically introduced on July 1, 2015 and the deadline for applying is August 14, 2015.
  • The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) oversees the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP). The purpose of this program is to promote America’s growing network of farmers markets while creating new opportunities for farm and ranch operators serving local markets. The FMPP provides outreach, training, education, and technical assistance to domestic farmers markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture, agrotourism, and other direct-to-consumer market opportunities. In order to receive FMPP assistance, applicants must be domestic entities owned, operated, and located within the United States or one of its territories. Local governments, tribal governments, agricultural businesses and public benefits are eligible, in addition to many other entities and groups.

There are also a number of comprehensive databases that compile annual lists of grants and other support programs. The Foundation Center maintains the one of the most comprehensive databases of U.S. grant-makers and their grants. In addition to the Web site, there are five regional library/learning centers and a national network of more than 300 Cooperating Collections.

Created through a partnership of Federal Agencies, Grants.gov directs grant-seekers to over 900 programs offered across 26 Federal grant-making agencies. The site also offers an email notification service, letting eager grant-seekers know when a new funding for which they may be eligible is announced.

25 thoughts on “8 Organizations Offering Grants in Agriculture Research and Development in the US”

  1. I have been experimenting with different coatings so the clay mud will not stick to the agricultural & excavating equipment. We need funding to continue. Do you know where I can find any information to do this?

  2. Helloo,iam victor from kenya,a passionate young man who wants to venture into serious modern farming. Are these organizations funding outside U.S? If not, how can i be assisted,iam realy for food insecurity eradication in my community. Thank you.

    1. Hi, I’m knowledgeable in healthy natural organic chicken farming .How to apply for those grants? Are these organizations funding outside U.S ? I’m from Malaysia

  3. The affects of soil salinity and micronutrients availability have not been fully researched in irrigation centres in northern where rice production is the main occupation in Ghana. Emphasis have been on macro nutrients but yields are still below 2t/ha.
    i would be glad to get funded to undertake this research.

  4. Greetings,
    Im Nanziri Bukomeko Rhene from Uganda managing an agricultural cooperative dealing in maize and beans value chains. We are looking at researching on why farmers spend alot of time in gardens but have remained very poor. They harvest twice a year but the proccedes cant be seen in their lives. They cant meet their basic needs one week after selling but at the same time there is food insecurity among the rural communities. They can afford to buy the food they grow.

    1. Definitely in any subsistence farming where farmers hold on to the traditional tools like hoes and machetes , sustainable outcomes impacting their lives will not be envisaged. There should be a shift in paradigm to position farmers with appropriate technology adaptable to their prevailing system and the use of superior planting materials – improved hybrid seeds and seedlings.

    2. Hi Nanziri,
      Our farmers are “Peasants” who live from hand to mouth with 80% of Uganda’s population employed in agriculture. The hours of labor spent in the field are not remunerated especially through the market price determinants which are negatively influenced by the “Middle-men”. Secondly, our farmers neither receive subsidies, nor any forms of agricultural insurance/finance to bridge the financial gap. Despite the acknowledgement that the Agricultural Sector is the major employer and income provider for the Uganda, there is no Data-Base to capture the individual farmers, production constraints and any other related activities. There is lack of Agricultural Economists within the production regions, to offer technical knowledge, guidance and support to farmer’s initiatives. Availability of Farmer’s Data/information would greatly support and enhance agricultural interventions both locally and internationally.

  5. large scale irrigation farming has been perceived to be capital intensive. recent development thinking has discovered community based irrigation farming to be a panacea to poverty reduction and livelihoods sustainability. To this extent, communities in northern Ghana are with some dams and other water bodies that can serve community based irrigation purpose but little research has been conducted to known the impact of community based irrigation farming on the livelihood sustainability of rural people in northern Ghana who are at risk of drought, floods and pest infestation and who also over rely on rain fed agriculture. I will therefor wish if you could offer me support financially to undertake a research into the effects of community based irrigation farming on the livelihoods sustainability of the rural poor particularly women in northern Thank you!

  6. This is a great resource Lauren, it’s pretty much exactly what I was looking for, as I was researching just this subject for a friend.

    What’s really encouraging is the focus many of these awards on global solutions and some of the world’s poorest farmers.

  7. A research project on nursery management and seed developing techniques in vegetables and fruit crops can bridge the gap between subsistence farming and smallholder commercialization in Sierra Leone .

  8. Am an industrous Nigerian having a large fish farm but faced with financial constraint to sustain it and will be glad if i can secure a grant to survive it.please how can i get a help?

  9. i am a Tanzanian man graduated on 2016 , i have been looking for job almost one year with no success, now i want to engage in farming agriculture in this season of farming , challenges which i face is lack capital to run this duty, i would like to ask any organization or institution to offer me a grant or capital so that i can employ my self and encourage other youth to engage in farming rather than depending to be employed by the government. now we experience the problem of massive unemployment in our country, while we have fertile land. please i need your help. THANK YOU

    1. My brother I am just like you but the only difference is that I graduated in 2011. I have passion for agricultural but no fund. I started a little snail farm at my backyard which is not working as it should but am hoping that one day funding will come and I will do better than I am doing now .

  10. Hi, Good morning, am Alan of Davao City, Mindanao, Philippines. I have tried producing organic soil conditioner and soil fertilizer, which its laboratory tests have passed and approved for volume production, its raw materials were simple and available locally, but I need funding to be able to do so…I want to help our local vegetable producers and farmers by giving them enough supply of my product at a very affordable costs. Frankly, in our present political atmosphere and progress, I find it quite hard to find a sincere listening ear and pure heart to assists me on this endeavor, in as much I would to like pursue this project, but I am constraint in my funding resources, I hope your organization may find time to extend your utmost consideration and help me.

    Respectfully,

    Alan Pedida

    1. Hi. i’m Geoffrey from Mombasa Kenya.can i get some help in digging a borehole to practice agriculture in this water defficient place?

  11. Good morning I am looking for funding to start a Family farm. Myself my wife and are six kids. Any help would Be appreciated.

    1. Please my name is Benjamin Echeta from Nigeria. Please I am interested to get a grant from you guys because I need to get something to feed my family. I studied accounting in the Imo State University here in Imo state but no job so some people gave me some financial give and I was able to open a small catfish farm with one 100 capacity pond. Please I need help badly. Thanks

  12. I am Emmanuel K.M. Vorleto , poor farmers in the hinter lands do not have access to soil fertility laboratory analysis to be able to determine fertilizer rates for their site specific applications,hence the continuous low productivity, as a results of that, my research is to win a grant to set up a mini-soil nutrient analysis laboratory to enable me reach out to more farmers in the hinter landsof some selected savannah zones in Ghana where more lands can be made available for pre&post lab-investigation for the needed fertilizer recommendation for higher productivity and sustainable livelihood and food security for the future generations

  13. Hellow! Iam going to graduate from university very soon…i have a business plan idea that will end up solving agricultural problems in my Tanzania country…please I need a help…only small amount to helps me turn my dream into reality

  14. We are the National Agro-Inputs Dealers Association of Liberia (NAIDAL). We are commited to unifying Agro-Inputs Dealers in Liberia to provide relevant, quality and affordable agricultural inputs and essential farm services to smallholder farmers, thereby facilitating increased on-farm productivity and the subsequent growth of the Liberian Agriculture Sector.

    Due to the lack of fundings, we are limited in our operations. we are soliciting partnership or sponsorship from Donors and sponsors that want to strengthen the agriculture sector in Liberia.

  15. Hi! My name is Deogratias Lwezaura from Tanzania. the problem we have is aflatoxin in maize and groundnut as a result we find it hard to fetch produce market. We have research proposal on controlling aflatoxin in those commodities. Whereabout opportunity for funding this?

  16. Hi My name is Keptreene Finch

    I currently live in the UK and have been promoting Urban Agriculture for several years. I work very closely with The University of Wolverhampton(UK), Caribbean Agricultural Research Development Institute (CARDI, St. Kitts & Nevis), Rio de Janerio University (Brazil, Laboratory of Environmental Geomorphology and Soils Degradation). We recently completed a two week workshop in St. Kitts & Nevis (West Indies), looking at several aspects of ‘sustainable farming’. Our aim is to support small holding farmers in sustainable farming.
    Could you please let me know if you assist with funding outside the USA, and if so what would be the process I would have to undertake to make an application for funding

  17. Hi, am a scientist at National Semi Arid Resources Research Institute, Uganda. am working on finger millet breeding for blast, striga and drought resistance. Am looking for funds for research. Is their any opportunity to fund finger millet research?

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