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KARTA offers grants to farmers who want to try on-farm research projects

guidelines for 2018 KARTA on-farm research
RESEARCH PLANS: This screen shot provides guidelines for 2018 KARTA on-farm research.
Tackling on-farm research projects can be challenging; KARTA has grants to help offset the costs.

The Kansas Ag Research & Technology Association announced last week that it will be making up to $14,000 available for agricultural research funding in 2018. The announcement was made during the 20th Annual Kansas Agricultural Technologies Conference in Junction City, in front of more than 150 producers, vendors and students who attended the event.

Between now and Feb. 20th, KARTA members (and prospective members) are encouraged to submit funding applications for on-farm research. "It is getting harder and harder to maintain a viable farming operation with rising input costs," says Brent Rendel, KARTA board president. "On farm research is so important for testing new products and new methods — and sharing that information with the other producers at our annual conference is always an attendee favorite. It's not about your theory being right, it's about being more in-the-know when the data comes in."

Research grants are available in several amounts. KARTA members who submit new research projects receive a grant in the amount of $500 per person. Members who submit applications for continuing projects from previous years receive $400 per person. Group studies are also encouraged, and grants are available at $300 per group member involved with the research project. New group projects are being facilitated this year, with more information being announced to those who apply to participate.

“Grant funding is designed to encourage producers to answer the questions they might have on their own farms,” says Tyler Lund, KARTA research coordinator. “The first time you take on a research project it can be challenging, but it gets easier the more you practice. We can help new researchers get started tracking their results, and can try to walk them through the process to make it as simple as possible.”

For many grant recipients, the first or even the second year of research is challenging as there are many moving parts to research and farmers working to finish a project are likely to experience many, if not all, of the challenges.

However, at KARTA, participants are encouraged to talk about the things that went wrong with their effort to document research (weather, growing conditions, equipment malfunction, etc.) as well as the things that went right. The idea is to participate and learn by doing.

Grant recipients are expected to track their project’s results in a scientific manner that produces comparable data. The funds will be awarded in the spring of 2018, and the recipient will be expected to report their results to the KARTA membership at next year’s conference in January 2019. Anyone interested in learning more about the research funding or reading previous research projects should visit the KARTA website. From there, they can also fill out the convenient online application to request funding for their proposed project. The deadline to apply is Feb. 20th.

KARTA contributed to this article.

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