The purpose of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program is to encourage research and outreach designed to increase knowledge concerning agricultural production systems that:
- maintain and enhance the quality and productivity of the soil;
- conserve soil, water, energy, natural resources, and fish and wildlife habitat;
- maintain and enhance the quality of surface and ground water;
- protect the health and safety of persons involved in the food and farm system;
- promote the well-being of animals; and
- increase employment opportunities in agriculture (7 U.S.C. 5801 and 5811).
The SARE legislation requires USDA to carry out the program through agreements entered into with land-grant colleges or universities, other universities, state agricultural experiment stations, the state cooperative extension services, nonprofit organizations with demonstrable expertise, or federal or state governmental entities. Applications may only be submitted by these types of organizations. Failure to meet an eligibility criterion by the application deadline may result in the application being excluded from consideration or, even though an application may be reviewed, will preclude NIFA from making an award.