State Board of Agricultural Research and Education


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Policies and Procedures


Agricultural Research Fund Established by Statute

In 1997, the North Dakota State Legislature created the State Board of Agricultural Research, now State Board of Agricultural Research and Education (Sections 14-19 of chapter 15-12.1 of the North Dakota Century Code). Among other duties, SBARE administers the Agricultural Research Fund. The Agricultural Research Fund is a special fund in the state treasury derived from agricultural equipment sales. The monies in the fund must be expended for agricultural research. Annually, SBARE apportions the Agricultural Research Fund: 70% to research activities affecting North Dakota agricultural commodities (those that account for at least two percent of the gross sales of all agricultural commodities grown or produced in the state, but the percentage allocated to each commodity cannot exceed the percentage that the gross sales of the commodity contribute to the total of gross sales of all agricultural commodities grown or produced the previous year); 18% to research activities affecting animal agriculture; and 12% to research activities affecting new and emerging crops. SBARE solicits research proposals and appoints committees to review the proposals and award grants competitively.

Intent of the ARF

Funds from the ARF encourage agricultural research responsive to identified needs in the state. SBARE-ARF will support research projects that:

  • have a positive economic impact for producers of crops and livestock in North Dakota;
  • improve the quantity and/or quality of agricultural commodities;
  • lead to efficiencies in, or sustainability of agricultural productivity;
  • are submitted by individuals, groups, or institutions from either the public or the private sector;
  • are selected through a competitive process that includes review of written proposals;
  • include funding from other sources, public or private; and
  • include a framework for timely progress toward stated objectives.

Approved June 1, 1998
Some text and style taken from NDAPUC Documents.
Used with Permission.

Appointment of Grant Committees

In all grant committees, the majority of membership will consist of producers. Members will be appointed annually by July 1. Each committee will include the director of the ND Agricultural Experiment Station or the director's designee, and an individual who has a background in agricultural research and experience in the contemplated area including major crops. (SBARE Minutes February 9, 1998).  Appointments are for two-year terms.  Changes in appointments need to be approved by SBARE.

For the major crops category, SBARE will appoint one grant committee for each commodity. SBARE will solicit names of producers from appropriate commodity groups and appoint producer membership to each commodity committee.

For the animal agriculture category, grant committee membership will consist of a minimum of one producer designated by the ND Beef Commission, one producer designated by the ND Stockmen's Association, one producer designated by the ND Milk Producers Association, one producer designated by the ND Pork Producers, one producer designated by the ND Lamb and Wool Producers Association, one producer designated by the ND Bison Producers Association, with the director and research expert as before. (SBARE Minutes December 15, 1997; amended February 9, 1998)

For the new and emerging crops category, SBARE will appoint to the grant committee a minimum of four individuals who are growers or producers of new or emerging crops or who have a familiarity with new or emerging crops, the director of the NDAES, and an individual with a background in agricultural research and processing (SBARE Minutes December 15, 1997; amended February 9, 1998). New and emerging crops are defined as any crop not included on the list of crops in the 70% funding category (SBARE Minutes December 15, 1997; amended February 9, 1998).

Members appointed to SBARE granting committees may be those already selected to serve on commodity research committees/boards; but SBARE must approve each individual in the committees.  The decisions of the SBARE appointed membership will be forwarded to the SBARE board for approval.

SBARE Role in Distributing the Agricultural Research Fund

SBARE will track the balance in the ARF that will vary from year to year. The amount in the fund as of July 1 of each year will be available for distribution. While commodity committees will review, select, and award grants, SBARE will be responsible for:

Appointing Grant Committees - July 1

Apportioning the ARF into commodity (70%), animal (18%), and new/emerging crops (12%); and parsing the commodity funds by relative contribution to gross sales based on the ND Ag Statistics Service Annual Publication (SBARE Minutes February 9, 1998) - August 1

Issuing a Call for Proposals - beginning August 1. Normally the call will be coordinated with the corresponding commodity group.

In the call may be a request for preproposals. These three-page documents, including the budget, help in managing the review process and in identifying any need for additional review expertise.

Receiving full proposals - Representative committees will review preproposals to determine whether a full proposal is desired. Applicants will be notified of committees’ decisions individually. If a full application is requested, the applicant will be informed of the due date when contacted.

Receiving annual progress reports for multi-year projects - Due October 1.  In some cases, committees consider full proposals only.  The details are described in the call for proposals.  In every case, awarded projects must have completed a full proposal.  For annual renewal of multi-year projects, investigators need to submit only an annual progress report, descriptions of changes in the scope of work and an updated budget.  Annual progress reports are required prior to the consideration of renewed funding for multi-year projects.

Receiving/logging/filing project completion reports - Due 90 days after the end of the funding period.

Forwarding proposals and copies of annual reports to grant committees (Annual reports are especially important to determine if multi-year projects should be funded for an additional year).

Insuring commodity grant committees meet and award grants expeditiously. Every effort will be made to accommodate established procedures within each commodity granting process but, the awards must be made and an agreement executed before June 30 of each year. Researchers may be seeking matching funds from a commodity group directly, so commodity groups may need to consider ARF requests concurrently with other proposals not eligible for ARF. SBARE encourages awarding of grants by March 1 for crops research. Early awards can allow recipients to plan and engage in field research in the upcoming crop season rather than delaying the process one year.

Insuring that successful proposals are in compliance with federal and state regulations that govern the conduct of research.

Maintain records on all ARF grant awards and lists of research requests for accounting purposes.

Preparing summary reports as required by OMB, SBHE, or other cognizant authority.

Evaluation and Funding Criteria

Members of each grant committee will be appointed biennially. Each committee should establish its own operating procedures. The only requisite component for initial ARF funding is the written proposal. Annual progress reports are requisite for continued funding of multi-year projects. Grant committees may wish amplifying information by having requesters available during deliberations, requesting oral presentations from requesters, tours of research facilities, etc. Neither SBARE nor ARF funds will be available to support the operating expenses of granting committees (SBARE Minutes February 9, 1998).

Criteria for Selection

Each grant request and application will be judged on these criteria. Within a framework of 100 points maximum, each of the criteria will be considered as follows:


SBARE has identified needs appropriate for ARF sponsored research. The research proposal must clearly relate to one or more of these topics. The proposal must summarize the importance of the subject to the commodity or to the people of the state. For new or potential agricultural problems, the researcher should provide a best estimate of importance. For studies that are more fundamental, researchers must describe how the research relates to an ARF topic. Up to 20 points will be awarded on this criterion.


Each review panel will give preference to projects with demonstrated economic impact to North Dakota. Within each proposal, the expected impact of the results must be stated in terms of economic gains. For fundamental studies, the proposal can include value of the information gained to subsequent studies. Generally, projects that have more immediate impacts will be favored over protracted, long-term studies; projects with high impact potential will be favored more than those with little perceived economic impact; and preference will be given to proposals which allow SBARE the most return-on-investment. Up to 20 points will be awarded on this criterion.


Judgments will be made on how well the project generates new information. New information includes descriptions of better agricultural stocks, better methods, improved agricultural choices, and improved monitoring, testing, or predictive systems. ARF funding should not be used for routine testing or repeats of tests that have well known or highly predictable results. A literature review is required to demonstrate the relative innovativeness in each research application. Up to 20 points will be awarded on this criterion.


Critical to the success of this program is the scientific and technical feasibility of any research, as well as the qualifications of the project's principals. Grant committees should judge each proposal for its perceived feasibility. Components of feasibility include: the degree to which the proposed research can be achieved with the facilities and resources available; the adequacy of scientific methods to produce results that are understandable and reliable; the degree to which the research leaders' education, training, experience, and other qualifications apply to the proposed project; and the probability of completing the project in the proposed timeframe. Up to 20 points will be awarded on this criterion.


Matching funds are not required for animal or new/emerging crop proposals. For commodity proposals, priority will be given to projects that demonstrate a commitment for funding from other sources, from the applicant, or from other private or public sources. Matching funds may be in the form of cash, in-kind services, and/or fair market value of equipment, land or other resource. Matching funds need to be clearly identified as specific to the ARF-funded project. Previously committed funds cannot be used as an after-the-fact match. Existing salaries and fringe benefits and indirect costs are not allowable as match. SBARE requires a minimum of 25% match for projects led by individuals in North Dakota, and a 1:1 match for projects led by individuals outside North Dakota (SBARE Minutes February 9, 1998); however, grants in the animal agriculture or in the minor crop categories do not require matching funds (SBARE Minutes December 15-16, 1997; amended February 9, 1998). Grant committees should give increased consideration to projects that exceed the minimums. ARF funds can be used to match other grants as long as the other grants meet the criteria for ARF funding. Matches must be made concurrent or subsequent to the specific project as it is approved (SBARE Minutes February 9, 1998). Disbursement of SBARE funds will be contingent upon evidence that matching funds have been approved for or allocated to the proposal. Up to 10 points will be awarded on this criterion.


Certain types of research can be best conducted by individuals outside of North Dakota.

Proposals from out-of-state individuals or agencies are eligible for ARF funding provided that the project includes a North Dakota collaborator approved by the SBARE or its chair.

In regional, collaborative or cooperative studies, the roles and responsibilities of each of the individuals/agencies must be clearly defined. Up to five points will be awarded on this criterion.

Additional points, up to a maximum of 5, may be awarded to each proposal by grant committee members. These points are based largely on individual judgment of the likelihood of success of each proposal.


Proposals are not limited to a specific dollar amount. Each year, the amount of funds available to the committees will vary. Grant committees are given latitude in awarding of funds; the award may be greater or less than the requested amount based on committee findings and on level of available funds. The committee may fund only portions of proposed research. The grant committee (or designated representative) and the investigator will negotiate changes in the proposal relative to changed or partial funding. Modified proposals will be returned to the SBARE administrative representative for tracking and accounting. For multi-year projects, committees have similar latitude. They can terminate projects immediately if progress is totally unsatisfactory; they can elect to terminate ineffective projects before the completion date; or they can decrease or increase funding based on the annual progress reports. If the researcher proposes substantial changes to the scope, direction, or nature of a multi-year project, a new submission should be prepared. Multiple applications from the same applicant will be considered if each application covers distinctly different research projects.  Applications that have been submitted under other state grant programs may be considered simultaneously by SBARE-ARF. SBARE-ARF will not fund projects that are fully funded by other sources.


Full proposals will be requested on an individual basis, based on committee review of the preproposals. Deadlines for full proposals will vary by committee. Applicants selected to submit a full proposal will be notified of the due date by the fund representative. Funding decisions will be made by March 2000. Proposals are not limited to a specific funding period. One- and two-year awards should be common, and multi-year projects longer than five years are discouraged. Because ARF funds are competitive, proposals in each funding category must be considered at the same time.  At the end of any funding period, a completed-project report will be submitted within 90 days.

A call for proposals will be issued by August 1 of each year. Within the call will be a request for a three-page preproposal that lists the project title, applicant information, project information, budget information, and plan of work (objectives, rationale or justification, and approach or methodology.) Applicants should follow the form provided by SBARE. The preproposal assists SBARE and committees in organizing the review process and may assist in the determination of priority topics.


Researchers must select the funding categories (major crop, animal, minor crop) within which the proposal will be evaluated Researchers are responsible for completeness, accuracy, clarity and honesty of the submission. Each is also responsible for compliance with state and federal regulations governing conduct of research.

Award decisions by the committees are binding and not subject to review or appeal. Concerns about the process can be addressed to SBARE with the intention of improving the ARF funding system.


Grant committee members must disclose any potential conflict of interest. Conflicts could include sponsored research conducted on their property, they are related to the proposer, they have ownership interest in a company that is the proposer, or they would otherwise have direct financial interest in the grant money, e.g., they would be paid from the proceeds (as distinguished from just benefiting from the research generally). Less than 5% equity ownership interest in any publicly held company or in any cooperative shall not be considered a conflict. A grant committee member with a conflict of interest must abstain from voting on that specific proposal unless all of the other members of the committee present unanimously approve allowing the member with a conflict to vote.

All conflicted proposals will be reviewed by SBARE for final approval with the conflict disclosed to the full SBARE prior to the final determination. SBARE members are also bound by conflict of interest restrictions. Should a conflict arise after approval, e.g., the research ends up being done on the committee member's property, that member will disclose to the committee and to SBARE in advance or as soon as the situation is known, and the committee and SBARE will determine a suitable course of action. For matched- or joint-funded projects, the conflict of interest restrictions of all sponsors must be satisfied. (R. Johnson, General Counsel, Letter 8 June 98)


Successful applicants are expected to adhere to the conditions outlined in these guidelines. Following approval of the grant award, a formal grant contract will be executed between SBARE and the grantee. This agreement will specify the agreed upon objectives, tasks to be performed, timeline and budget, a fund release schedule, and any other conditions specific to the individual application.

Designated in the terms of all grant contracts, will be the requirements for annual reports of progress and both timeline and budget compliance. In most cases, the entire grant amount will not be released at the time of the committee's decision. In such instances, funds released will be tied to the grant contract, and any insufficiencies with the contract may result in withholding of further funding. Should such grave insufficiencies exist that the project appears to SBARE to be in jeopardy, the contract may be canceled, and all funds previously released may be recovered through collection procedures.

Grantees will be required to submit a final written report describing the work performed and the results obtained, prior to final release of grant funds. This report must be supplemented by a financial report of all expenses actually incurred and income generated by the project.


To protect the investment of SBARE, co-supporters and the people of North Dakota, all financial documents, books, receipts, orders, expenditures, electronic data and accounting procedures and practices of the grantee are subject to examination by or for SBARE.


SBARE-ARF grant funds may be used for the purposes indicated in an approved budget (Supplement B to the proposal) during the funding period. Generally, the purposes include salaries other than faculty salaries, equipment, supplies, travel, publication (communication), data analysis and fees. Other uses of funds may be considered by the grant committees if sufficient justification is provided. Indirect costs (overhead) are not allowed.  Changes to the budget between line items is appropriate, but in the event of a breach of contract or non-performance, all or a portion of the grant award may be reclaimed by SBARE.


All research results are to remain in the public domain (SBARE Minutes February 9, 1998).


Subject to the policies of participating public programs and entities, rights to use products, processes or services developed under the SBARE-ARF grant program will remain with the grantee.


Potential applicants wishing to discuss specific proposals for SBARE-ARF are encouraged to contact the SBARE representative at:

North Dakota State Board of Agricultural Research and Education
Lori Capouch
Cooperative Development Specialist
3201 Nygren Drive NW
PO Box 727
Mandan ND 58554-0727
Voice (701) 663-6501 or (800) 234-0518
FAX (701) 663-3745


Preproposals are limited to three typed (in greater than 10 point font), single or double-spaced 8.5" by 11" pages, including the budget form and attachments. Applicants should follow the provided preproposal format. Preproposals must be delivered or mailed to the SBARE Administrative Representative. Electronic submissions will not be accepted.

Full proposals are limited to 5 typed (in greater than 10 point font), single or double-spaced 8.5" by 11" pages, plus supplements and attachments. Applicants should follow the provided application format. Applications must be delivered or mailed to the SBARE Administrative Representative. Electronic submissions will not be accepted.


Awarding of SBARE-ARF grants is competitive. So that applications can be expeditiously reviewed and so that information is sufficient for adequate consideration, a uniform application process is adopted. Requesters should prepare their proposals in the format presented on the following forms:


Downloadable Forms


Application Form

Supplement A - Statement of Potential Funding Sources

Supplement B - Project Budget

Supplement C - Press Release Information Sheet

Supplement D - Current and Pending Projects


State Board of Agricultural Research and Education
North Dakota State University
Morrill Hall 314
NDSU Dept. 7520, PO Box 6050
Fargo ND  58108-6050
PHONE: 701-231-7655
FAX: 701-231-7566
Web Site:

Revised September, 2005
Revised June, 2014 (updated links to meeting minutes)
Updated links December 15, 2015

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