Funding, Fundamentals, and Fellowship: The MANRRS Grantsmanship Training Program

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2023: $72,700.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2024
Grant Recipient: Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences
Region: Southern
State: Georgia
Principal Investigator:


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: mentoring, technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: grant making

    Proposal abstract:

    Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) has over 37 years of demonstrated experience in recruiting and training diverse collegiate and pre-collegiate talent. This has created a strong network of professionals, producers, and practitioners with a passion for supporting underserved communities. With the recent American Rescue Plan and other appropriations to support agricultural sustainability and innovation, there is a critical need to train minority-serving faculty, extension agents, and underserved producers who are perpetually underrepresented in funding for grants and training programs to improve their success in sustainable agriculture. We will reduce this gap using the MANRRS infrastructure and network of the 1890s to train this audience on the best practices for securing funding to support sustainable agriculture programs and operations in the SE. These trained participants will then be equipped to further train their respective constituencies on the fundamentals and best practices involved in successful grantsmanship. We will use comprehensive grantsmanship workshops, and intentional mentoring approaches to train 50 personnel with tools to fund their sustainability research, training, and agricultural operations. We will then select 10 participants from this pool of 50 to participate in a more intensive grantsmanship bootcamp to develop tools, templates, and training materials to support future grantsmanship and training of their clientele. Together, this approach will create a community of trained grant writers within the MANRRS network to support a variety of underrepresented and underserved communities and clientele. 

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The target audience for this project include minority-serving faculty, extension agents, producer associations, and other frontline training personnel in agriculture and natural resources. Professors and extension agents at our 1890 and 1862 Land Grant institutions are looked to as experts in their respective fields and stand on the frontline of disseminating credible information to the public. Whether training a captive audience of students, producers, or other extension agents these individuals must be equipped with the best practices and current resources to effectively educate these clientele. In addition, farmers associations and cooperatives often provide resources and training in rural areas and as such are a critical component of the train-the-trainer pipeline. We will work with the Mississippi Minority Farmers Association and Metro Atlanta Urban Farms as an example of this target constituency to measure their ability to effectively amplify and disseminate the train-the-trainer grantsmanship proficiencies. Larger academic institutions and organizations often have dedicated grant writers or can contract to professional agencies to secure funding. Meanwhile many smaller institutions, HBCU’s, and other organizations are unable to adequately compete in this space. To help level this playing field, we will train a community of grant writers that will then go forth and empower their colleagues and constituents with skills to improve their grant writing success rate. Using this model, this comprehensive group of trained trainers will be equipped to then tutor their respective colleagues, extension clientele, and fellow producers to write competitive, successful grants to support sustainable agriculture. 

    The specific objectives of this grantsmanship fellowship/consortium are to:

    Specific Objective 1: Conduct a training MANRRS workshop for 50 participants focused on competitive grantsmanship skills for submitting to NGOs, Government agencies, and Industry. This will provide a collaborative venue in which participants develop grantsmanship and collaborative networking skills to secure funding. We will emphasize identifying funding opportunities, developing competitive proposals, and assembling administrative/supporting documents. 


    Specific Objective 2: From the larger groups of participants, we will support a subset of 10 participants to attend a second MANRRS grantsmanship bootcamp that will include more intensive training for participants to develop a tailored toolkit and usable templates for new proposal development. This will include intentional mentorship based on their area of expertise and targeted funding sources. As a result of this workshop these participants will be trained to further disseminate these best practices and toolkits in extension workshops, faculty seminars, and other formal and informal settings. 


    These objectives will train a cohort of frontline professionals in academia, extension, and small farming, on best practices to pursue and obtain funding for sustainable research and innovation. These trainees will be empowered with tangible toolkits and templates to perpetuate this training to their respective colleagues, communities, and co-ops amplifying this impact to a broader underserved audience.  Ultimately, the participants from Objective 1 will have improved competence and confidence in their ability to train and provide resources to their constituency for grant writing. Those from Objective 2 will become advanced trainers and will be leveraged as part of the MANRRS network to further bolster our train-the-trainer capacity. In outlying years, this community of  intentionally trained grant writers will be called upon to host future training workshops and to help fund these workshops through successful grantsmanship. In this manner the model becomes sustainable over time, and we continue to produce well- trained, successful grant writers in this undeserved space. 

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.