Funding Opportunities: Warner Grants for Sustainable Agriculture

Paul C. and Edna H. Warner Grants for Sustainable Agriculture

Warner Page

The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) Sustainable Agriculture Team and Agroecosystems Management Program (AMP) offer interdisciplinary grants to promote on-farm research in sustainable agriculture. This program, the Warner Grants for Sustainable Agriculture, is made available through the Paul C. and Edna H. Warner Endowment Fund.  The fund was established specifically for on-farm research in sustainable agriculture related to crop (agronomic and horticultural) and animal production systems that are ultimately intended for human consumption.

Sustainable agriculture is characterized by a state of balance between:
• Practices and values that promote environmental stewardship and conservation of resources
• Long-term economic viability of farms and rural communities, and
• Preservation of the quality of life for farm families and support for rural communities.

Research is intended to identify and publicize sustainable agricultural practices and systems that are profitable, socially responsible, energy-efficient and improve water quality and other environmental concerns relevant to Ohio farmers.


The RFP is typically released in late January with a deadline in early March.  

The following projects were selected for funding in 2020 and will commence pending approval for COVID-19 research exemptions:

“Rabbit Grazers” Rolling Rabbit Coops

PI: Jacqueline Kowalski (Agriculture and Natural Resources, OSU Extension), Farmer: Kyla Werlin (Oxbow Orchard, Valley View, OH).

The goal of the proposed work is to determine the capabilities of “Rabbit Grazers”, a mobile coop that allow the rabbits to roll the coop forward when forage is desired. The specific objectives of the project are to: 1) determine how many rabbits can each Rabbit Grazer coop sustain, 2) verify if the coop allows rabbits to access enough forage to produce high-quality meat and to 3) establish whether the use of the coop can make pasture raising meat rabbits more sustainable for farmers.


Effects of Foliar-Applied Plant Nutrients on Palatability & Intake of Forage by Dairy Cows

PI: Douglas Doohan (Weed Management in Fruits & Vegetables, OSU), Farmer: Marlin Miller (Organic Valley Farmer, Millersburg, OH).

The goal of the proposed work is to conduct a “choice” grazing experiment from mid-April to early July 2020 to measure the effect of foliar-applied nutrients on palatability and intake by dairy cows. Research design, conduct, and interpretation will be done in full collaboration with local organic dairy producers, and experimentation will take place on an organic dairy farm in Holmes County. Results will be shared with the farming, research and extension communities by means of a pasture walk while the experiment is underway, preparation of a farmer oriented final report, and an end-of-project meeting


Collaborative research to Improve Wild Pawpaw (Asimina triloba L. Dunal) Fruit Production

PI: Matthew Davies (Soil and Plant Community Restoration, OSU), Farmer: Ron Powel (Foxpaw Farm, Cincinnati, OH), and Chris Chimel (Integration Acres, Athen, OH).

This project aims to test whether targeted stand management focused on increasing light availability, reducing competition, and increasing genetic diversity will increase pawpaw fruit production and quality. This will be achieved by testing the efficacy of three management approaches for woodland pawpaw production: 1) increasing light availability and reducing nutrient limitation to improve fruit production 2) enhancing the genetic diversity of patches by successfully establishing commercial cultivars; and 3) establishing new pawpaw patches through direct seeding


Disease Management for Sustainable Chestnut Production

PI: Melanie Lewis Ivey (Plant Pathology, OSU), and Amy C. Miller (Plant Pathology, OSU), Farmers: Route 9 Cooperative (Carrollton, OH) 

Blossom end rot (BER) of chestnut, which causes blackening of the kernels and shells, has become a significant economic detriment to chestnut production in Ohio since 2010. This project aims to explore host resistance of Chesnut trees to BER and to decipher the initial stages of infection. All studies will be conducted in partnership with Route 9 Cooperative, an agricultural cooperative of commercial chestnut orchards comprising over 200 acres in three Ohio counties for the purpose of exploring more sustainable options for controlling BER in commercial chestnut orchards.


Integrated No-Till Cropping Diversity to Control Topsoil and Nutrient Loss

PI: Rafiq Islam, (Soil & Bioenergy, OSU), and M.A. Rahman (Soil & Bioenergy, OSU), Farmers: David Brandt (Brandt Family Farms, Carroll, OH) 

This project proposes to establish a long-term study to evaluate the potential of NT cropping diversity with cover crop blends to decrease topsoil and nutrient loss, improve soil health, and support farm productivity relative to CT cropping diversity with and without cover crop blends. A split-plot experiment, with two tillage systems as main plots and two cropping diversity as subplots in a randomized complete block design with three replicates, will be established with Bt corn and Roundup-ready soybean.


Using Shade Cloth and Sprinklers to Mitigate Summer Heat for Leafy Greens

PI: Tim McDermott, (Agriculture & Natural Resources, OSU), Farmers: Michelle Nowak and Teddy Brown (Franklinton Farms, Columbus, OH) 

The aim of this project is to test the effectiveness of three simple, low-tech practices to mitigate summer heat and thereby increase summer yields of heat-sensitive crops at Franklinton Farms in Columbus, Ohio. The project will investigate the use of shade cloth and evaporative cooling via regular intervals of micro-sprinkler watering.


Reports on Warner grants from prior years can be found here.