The Online Application: Know What Goes Where.

Frequently NYFVI reviewers express frustration over the repetitive nature of some applications.  Please read the following information closely to ensure that you are developing a competitive, not repetitive, application.

GETTING STARTED

If you plan on creating your proposal in a word processing program like MS Word, prior to copying and pasting into our online application, you must first copy and paste into a plain text editor, such as Notepad. This will eliminate a great deal of hidden coding that is pasted in from Word. This code may make your text harder to edit, harder to read when it is printed out and will add to your character count in each section.

TITLE, DURATION
Title: Create a title for the project. Keep in mind the title of the project will appear in NYFVI publications. Generally, a title that is brief but descriptive of the project and its goals, works best. If your project is part of a paired proposal submission, please reflect that in the title.

Note: The title is limited to 150 characters.

Duration: Indicate the start and end date for your project. Funded projects will begin between April 1, 2020 and January 1, 2021. Funded projects must last at least two quarters (six months) and may last no more than eight quarters (two years). All projects must be fully completed by December 31, 2022.

AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION SECTOR
Indicate the agricultural sectors represented in the proposal by participating producers/farmers. Keep in mind that you are also indicating which NYFVI review panel(s) you believe would be best suited to review your proposal. Check only those that will be significantly benefited by your proposal. When in doubt, generally fewer is better.

EMPHASIS/PORTFOLIO PRIORITIES
Please read the NYFVI strategic priorities closely and choose the NYFVI priority that most closely aligns with the intent of your project. If absolutely necessary a secondary priority can be selected as well.

ANTICIPATED RESULTS
Please select the outcome(s) you believe your project will deliver.

Note: your project, and its evaluation plan should be able to provide impact data or deliverables for the outcomes you select.

CONTACTS
NYFVI collects names and contact information from all individuals associated with a project. Please read the descriptions carefully to ensure you are utilizing the categories correctly.

Note: The producer section and other collaborators section both include a check box area where an applicant certifies that all individuals listed have discussed and agreed to participate in the project. Applicants should not include the names of any individuals that have not clearly agreed to participate. All names that are provided may be contacted about the proposal at any point.

Contractor: Provide the name and contact information of the person responsible for grant contracts within your organization. In most cases this is not the same person as the project leader. This is the person who will sign the contract.

Administrative Point of Contact: Provide the name and contact information for the person who will handle invoicing, record keeping, and related aspects of the project. This should be someone familiar with the project leader and the proposal who can be consulted when the project leader is unavailable. Applicants are highly encouraged to include this contact person.

Technical Tip
For your convenience in adding new participants you will be asked to first enter an individual’s last name. A list of entries from the database with that last name will be returned. If the individual you intend is in the list click on “Add” and proceed. If the individual you refer to is not in the list you will then have the opportunity to add them.

Producers: Enter the names and contact information of farmers–and only farmers–who are actively providing assistance in the proposed project. Do not include more than one name per farm.

Check the appropriate box or boxes to indicate how the producer is participating. Choices include co-leader, project staff, proposal development, project advisory committee, project implementation, outreach and/or evaluation.
Grant applicants are not required to identify the farms who will be implementing the project during the application phase of the project. However, competitive proposals will demonstrate farm-level support for their efforts, including farmer participation in the project planning process.
If your work is focused on applied research, your application will be greatly strengthened by naming specific farms that have agreed to implement the project on their farm.

Other Participants & Collaborators: Provide the name and contact information for all other individuals that will be supporting the project . These may include extension educators, consultants and other agribusiness professionals. Check the appropriate box or boxes to indicate how the individual is participating. Choices include co-leader, project staff, proposal development, project advisory committee, project implementation, outreach and/or evaluation.

Note: The online application assumes the person issued credentials is the project leader. The project leader is the person with central administrative and managerial responsibility for the project.

The project leader is ultimately responsible for the project’s work. For NYFVI’s purposes, there is only one project leader.

Co-leaders are a separate role and may be named.  These individuals may receive duplicates of all correspondence originating from the database to the project leaders, such as quarterly report reminders.

Co-leaders can access the proposal and the reporting system using their own credentials.

PRODUCER INVOLVEMENT
The purpose of this section is to demonstrate that farmers are, or will be, actively involved in each aspect of the project. It is NOT necessary to provide your full implementation and outreach plans here, just provide detail about how farmers will be participating.

Technical Tip: Character count for all five tab sections is limited to 1,500 characters total, including punctuation and spaces.

Proposal Development: Describe specifically how, when, and where farmers, including the number of farmers, were involved in developing the proposal.

Project Advisory Committee: Some project leaders use Advisory Committees in their project. These committees may be informal or formal and may be an existing group or sub-group or a group gathered for the purpose of the project. These committees may be wholly comprised of farmers or a mix that includes non-farmers. If a Project Advisory Committee is used, describe the committee’s makeup, number of participating farmers, purpose, meeting schedule and the role it will have in the project.

Project Implementation: Farmers that will implement the project on their farm are those for whom project leaders will track and report on change at those farms, In this section, provide a brief narrative of how farmers will implement the project and the planned measurement of progress.

Project Outreach: Provide a brief description of how farmers will be part of the plan to share information.
Project Evaluation: How will farmers participate in project evaluation? Opportunities include providing farm financial data; feedback through testimonials or surveys; assessment of materials developed through the project, such as fact sheets, how-to guides, etc.; assessment of research data or project results; review by project advisory committee; review by local board of directors; and more.

TARGET BENEFICIARIES
Use specifics to describe the target audience for this project. Numbers help build the case for the value of the work proposed and demonstrate a thorough understanding of the audience for outreach. Consider including: commodities, sectors, enterprises, groups and sub-groups involved, geographical region and reach, farm size, types of production systems.

The Target Beneficiaries text box is limited to 1,500 characters, including punctuation and spaces.

IDENTIFICATION OF BARRIERS
This section should create an understanding of the specifics and scale of the problem your work will solve, or the economic opportunity your work will help create. Be sure to include specifics on how you know this problem is important to farmers. Do not discuss the solution to the problem in this section.

Grant applicants may cite barriers and opportunities identified by NYFVI through its efforts. Applicants may also cite other sources. Other methods of identifying needs and opportunities for your project include, producer groups assembled specifically to develop this project, an agricultural organization’s strategic planning or needs assessment document, program councils, producer program committees, focus groups, and program advisory committees.

The Identification of Barriers text box is limited to 1,500 characters, including punctuation and spaces.

PROJECT JUSTIFICATION
Describe the overarching, long-range goals or outcomes of this project and the potential impact on New York agriculture, connect it to the problem or opportunity described in the previous section.

Include a synopsis of previous research and outreach efforts at the local, state, national or international level. The synopsis should focus on the level of applicability, awareness or comprehension of earlier work within New York State or its regions. Detail how your proposed project builds on existing knowledge or previous efforts. Reviewers frequently comment “this has already been done” or “there is nothing new here”. This is your opportunity to address those concerns.

The Project Justification text box is limited to 3,200 characters, including punctuation and spaces.

THE WORKPLAN: PERFORMANCE TARGETS, MILESTONES AND ACTIVITIES
This section should provide a detailed work plan for your project, and include specific detail about materials and methods to allow your research design to be fairly evaluated. Typically, projects will have just a few performance targets with numerous measurable milestones and activities.

TIP: If funded, the workplan will be the foundation of your quarterly report., so please plan carefully!

Performance Targets: The performance target is the primary goal/s of the project. How will the farm ‘perform’ differently as a result of the project? What will the project achieve, as measured on participating farms? Priority in funding decisions goes to proposals whose performance targets are measurable within the duration of the grant funds. If goals will be achieved after the contract period ends, then what measurements can be made during the period of the project that shows progress toward achieving the desired goal?

Milestones: For each performance target, list the milestones that you will track, measure and report on during the course of the project. Think of milestones as sub-goals, the means by which you will verify progress toward achieving each performance target. Consider including milestones for project outreach and evaluation.

Activities: For each milestone, list the activities you will undertake to achieve the milestone. Ensure that enough information is included to allow your research design to be fairly evaluated.

There is no limit to the number of characters in the Performance Targets, Milestones and Activities section. Specifics are welcome. Be sure to include enough detail so that reviewers clearly understand what you are proposing to do.

After adding each new Performance Target, Milestone, or Activity (and date), you must click the “Add” button just to the left of the statement. Failure to click “Add” will result in lost data.

OUTREACH PLAN
This section should provide detail as to how you will extend the knowledge gained by your work beyond the participants in the project.

Describe how the information will be accessible to the broad agricultural producer audience across New York State. If applicable, as you develop the outreach plan, consider how you might measure its effectiveness in changing practices on farms, include this information in the Evaluation Plan. It is also appropriate to include outreach specific milestones in your workplan.

The Outreach Plan text box is limited to 1,500 characters, including punctuation and spaces.

EVALUATION PLAN
This section should provide detail as to what and how you will measure the impact of your project. It should be based on outcomes at the farm level, relative to project performance targets and the anticipated results selected earlier in the application. Describe what defines project success, the information you will collect, how you will collect it, and the proposed analysis of the information.  .Reviewers are particularly interested in how you will document the economic value resulting from the project. Evaluation may include how and why a project, or aspect of the project, worked or failed to workFunded project leaders will provide an extensive evaluation as part of the Final Report.

The Evaluation Plan text box is limited to 1,500 characters, including punctuation and spaces

PROJECT TEAM
Reviewers frequently look in the proposal for indications that the project leader, co-leaders, or staff have the collective capacity to successfully implement all the various aspects of a project. All individuals entered in the either of the “Contacts” sections and indicated as co-leaders or project staff will automatically appear in the Project Team section of the application.

For each individual, describe in 750 characters or less (including spaces and punctuation) the role or function they will play in the project. Then, again in 750 characters or less, describe their qualifications to perform their specific role or function. We are not seeking information about academic credentials, simply an understanding of an individual’s experience, and expertise that would make them the right person to implement the proposed work.

PRODUCER IN KIND CONTRIBUTIONS
Itemize the specific contributions farmers will make to this project and estimate a reasonable dollar value for each. To help with data standardization please use $50 per hour as a value for producer time contributed to a project. Contributed items may include, but are not limited to:

  • Time committed to various aspects of the project;
  • Donated supplies, e.g. seed, fertilizer, chemicals, feed, fuel
  • Use of facilities or equipment
  • Use of farmland for research plots or trials
  • Sacrifice or donation of crops or material that would have otherwise been used or sold

Applicants are not required to include Producer In-Kind Contributions. However, reviewers look for it and contributions may be considered an indication of farmer support for the project.

BUDGET
Grant applicants will create a budget for each quarter of the grant-funded project. Quarters are established as 3 month periods beginning on the start date of the project. Think through your workplan and match expenses to the relevant quarter.

Plan carefully within each budget category. Without exceeding the total grant amount project leaders may only overspend a budget line by 15% or $1,000, whichever is greater. Expenditures beyond these limits will require formal budget amendments and are discouraged. A well-organized budget can build confidence in your overall proposal.

Salaries and Wages: NYFVI may reimburse expenses for salary, wages and fringe benefits for new or currently employed staff for the portion of staff time devoted to NYFVI-funded project, up to 100% of the employee’s time.
List the employee or employee’s title/job description, and the percentage of each employee’s time devoted to the proposed project in the Budget Justification section of the application. Any required stipends or tuition reimbursements should be included in the “other” category.
Plan salary needs carefully, NYFVI discourages the movement of funds from non-salary lines into salary and will require extensive justification for such changes.

All persons seeking reimbursement for salary, wage or fringe benefit expenses must maintain records and may be required to present documentation of the amount of the employee’s time devoted to various efforts and funding sources.

Fringe Benefits: NYFVI may pay fringe benefits at a rate consistent with the applicant’s place of employment for the class of employee being paid through the project. Contact NYFVI staff for more information.

Consulting: NYFVI may reimburse consultant fees. Project leaders will document daily or hourly rates. Describe specific roles and expected deliverables or outcomes for each consultant in the Budget Justification section of the application. A commitment letter from the consultant outlining their specific role in the project must be filed with NYFVI if the proposal is selected for funding. It is expected that applicants will have worked out the details of any subcontracts prior to submission.

Subcontracts: NYFVI may reimburse for subcontracted portions of the project completed by persons or organizations other than the contracted organization. Describe specific roles and expected deliverables or outcomes for each subcontractor in the Budget Justification section of the application; itemize the total cost of each subcontract. Submission of subcontracts will be required if the project is approved. Indirect, overhead, or F&A charges cannot be levied twice, i.e. if indirect cost are charged in the subcontract they cannot be charged for the overall project and vice versa.

Travel: NYFVI may provide reimbursement for reasonable expenses for travel directly related to the project. Reimbursement will be for expenses that are not excessive and similar to “government rates.”

Out–of-state travel is discouraged but may be allowed and requires detailed explanation in the Budget Justification portion of the application, as well as prior written approval from NYFVI.

Fees: If a farmer is being reimbursed for any direct costs incurred through implementation of the project, please include it here and provide an explanation in the budget justification section.

Services and Lab Analysis: NYFVI may provide reimbursement of expenses for services and laboratory fees essential to conducting the project. Reimbursement will be for the percentage of the fees used for purposes of the funded project.

Materials & Supplies: NYFVI may reimburse expenses for materials and supplies that directly relate to the project. Rates of expenses should not be excessive. Generally, materials and supplies are items whose per unit purchase price is less than $1,000. Often these items have a useful life of one year or less.

Conferences & Seminars: NYFVI may reimburse reasonable expenses associated with conducting a conference, workshop or seminar that benefits farmers directly and relates to the project. Costs may include speaker travel, honoraria, meals, site rental, etc. Charging participants for a portion of the conference, seminar or workshop is strongly encouraged. Please describe charges participants will pay in the budget justification. NYFVI may also provide reimbursement for expenses for conference registration fees for individuals involved in the project to attend and present at a conference in New York State and related to the project. If reimbursement is for attendance, provide a detailed explanation of the conference and its importance to the project within the Budget Justification section.

Advertising & Promotions: NYFVI may reimburse expenses to produce and distribute brochures, flyers, displays or other items to promote project activities or outcomes; paid advertisements; etc.

Rentals: NYFVI may provide reimbursement of expenses for rented equipment that is essential to conducting the project. Reimbursement will be for the percentage of the rental cost of the item used for purposes of the funded project.
Equipment: NYFVI generally does not reimburse equipment expenses. Equipment refers to items, including machines, tools, electronics, structures and other items with a per unit purchase price of $1,000 or more and whose useful life is more than one year. Project leaders requesting equipment reimbursement must provide a detailed explanation of why the item is essential to the project, cannot be obtained at lesser cost through rental, lease, borrowing, etc., who will use the item, what percent of the item will be used in service of this project and what percent of the item will be used in service of other projects, how the item will be disposed of or used after the grant project ends.

Other: If you have costs that don’t fit elsewhere, please include them here, with a detailed explanation in the budget justification section. In some academic organizations, it is necessary that a student receive tuition reimbursement in order to be allowed to work on a project. In other organizations, living stipends are considered payment for work. If either of those scenarios is required by your organization, please include those costs here. Note: if these costs are excessive, they may make your proposal less competitive.

Indirect Costs: NYFVI may reimburse expenses for indirect costs or overhead at a rate negotiated between the applicant institution and NYFVI. Contact NYFVI before submitting the grant application. Indirect, overhead, or F&A charges cannot be levied twice, i.e. if indirect cost are charged on the project direct cost total then they cannot be charged on subcontracts or consulting agreements and vice versa.

BUDGET JUSTIFICATION
Project leaders must provide a detailed description for each requested budget category, including all major expenses. Provide detail of how the components of each budget line were calculated. Provide explanations of how the items will advance the proposed project. This section contains no character limits.

LEVERAGED FUNDING
Describe all sources of current and/or potential funding for this project proposal. Indicate which sources are current, and which are potential. Note the funding source (ex. USDA SARE, etc.) and the total grant amount. Describe how additional funds from NYFVI will expand the scope and/or impact of this project. Leveraging NYFVI funds to obtain other non-NYS funds is strongly encouraged and project leaders will be asked to report those funds and funding sources in their final report.

ABSTRACT
Although this is the last component of the application as entered online, it is the first section that reviewers see. Be sure to keep it concise and clear. Write for the layman- avoid jargon. Edit and edit again, every word is important.
Provide a brief and comprehensive synopsis of the proposed project, including a description of the need for the work, farmer participation, expected outcomes, impacts and goals, as well as how the project will progress or met goals. Major project partners and outreach work may also be part of the abstract. If you are submitting a paired proposal please indicate how they are interdependent in the last line of the abstract. “This project is paired with NAME’s work on the same topic. Both would need to be funded for it to execute” Or “This project is paired with NAME’s work on the same topic. It can be executed on its own”

The Abstract text box is limited to 1,500 characters, including punctuation and spaces.

Write an abstract that generates enough excitement and interest from readers that they will want to learn more about the project.