Long aisle in modern steel barn with black and white cows in a row on either side eating silage. Long aisle in modern steel barn with black and white cows in a row on either side eating silage.

Greener Cattle Initiative

Open Opportunity

Program Contact

Dr. Jasmine Bruno

Development Contact

Lauren Hershey

Full applications are due July 24, 2024

About the Greener Cattle Initiative

Methane and carbon dioxide are greenhouse gases (GHGs) that contribute to climate change. Yet, methane is more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. Enteric methane, which animals release into the atmosphere by burping or exhaling, is a significant source of direct GHG emissions. Reducing the amount of methane cows emit presents an opportunity to slow the effects of climate change while also helping the dairy and beef sectors meet their sustainability goals. However, more research is needed to determine how to safely, sustainably and productively do so.

The Greener Cattle Initiative (GCI), a multi-partner international consortium created by the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) and Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, opened its second request for proposals for research to develop scalable technologies that reduce enteric methane emissions and benefit farmers and ranchers, consumers and the environment.

GCI will consider applications addressing one or more of the following:

  • Delivery mechanisms of non-vaccine enteric methane mitigation technologies (inclusive of oral, parenteral, or topical administration; for example: boluses, liquids, drenches, formulated supplements, free choice supplements, injection, etc.)
  • Impact of applying interventions early in life to reduce enteric methane emissions later in life or in offspring (inclusive of calf microbiome, colonization, fetal programming, etc.)
  • Combined impacts of administering multiple enteric methane mitigation technologies to examine additive, synergistic, or antagonistic effects
  • Long-term and longitudinal studies to evaluate lasting effects of enteric methane mitigation technologies on mitigation, animal health and productivity (inclusive of full lactations or multiple lactations)

A maximum request of up to $5 million is available for all proposed projects. Matching funds are optional for this program. Pre-applications are due 5 p.m. ET, April 3, 2024. All domestic and international higher education institutions, non-profit and for-profit organizations and government-affiliated research agencies are encouraged to apply.

Additionally, FFAR hosted an informational webinar about this funding opportunity March 6, 2024, at 3 p.m. EST. A recording of the webinar is available here.

Application Guidelines

Am I eligible to apply?

GCI welcomes applications from all domestic and international higher education institutions, non-profit and for-profit organizations and government-affiliated research agencies.

Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge and resources necessary to perform the proposed research as Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) may apply through their home institution or organization.

Are matching funds required?

Matching funds are optional for this funding opportunity.

How do I apply?

Letters of Intent and invited full proposals must be submitted by the deadline date through FFAR’s online application Grant Management System. Applications submitted outside of this System will not be considered.

To start a new application, please click here. If you are a new user, register for an account by clicking the “Create Account” button located under the email address field on the left side of the home page. Once you log in, you may begin working on your application. Please be sure to save your work often by clicking on “Save and Finish Later.”

To access a saved application, please do so through your Grant Management Account.

Only applications submitted by the deadline through FFAR’s Grant Management System will be accepted and considered eligible for evaluation. To be fair to all our applicants, FFAR will not grant extensions to applicants who missed the deadlines posted in the Key Dates section.

What will GCI not consider applications addressing?
  • Development of greenhouse gas reporting frameworks, sustainability indexes, modeling or quantification protocols for enteric emissions offsets, or life cycle assessments
  • Genetic improvement of forages or concentrate feeds
  • Replacement/removal of livestock in food systems
  • Policy recommendations
  • Soil carbon sequestration
  • Vaccine development
  • Testing products without a researched and proven scientific basis or merit
  • Technologies, intervention, or strategies that counteract current beneficial practices
Is there additional guidance for applicants?

Projects should have the potential for transforming the field of enteric methane research and agricultural sustainability globally and must demonstrate a high probability to be commercially viable, economically feasible and socially responsible without negatively impacting animal health and welfare, productivity, product quality, and consumer and environmental safety.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to address the following elements in submitted applications:

  • Impact of the proposed research on enteric methane emissions
  • Potential to meet or exceed relevant animal, human and environmental health and safety regulations
  • Impact of the approach on quality and safety of food products derived from animals
  • Explanation of how the proposed approach may contribute to transformative change
  • Estimation of the current technology readiness level (TRL) for the approach
  • Potential to provide ancillary benefits to producers that are not based on carbon-trading (such as enhancing performance/efficiency, product volume or quality)
  • Potential to be implemented at a scale into existing dairy and beef production systems globally, if validated/approved by regulatory authorities
  • Potential of the proposed strategy to accelerate the development of new enteric methane interventions
  • Where appropriate, estimated time to commercialization of proposed strategy and cost of commercialization
  • Potential consumer acceptability of proposed strategy
  • Reproducibility of proposed work
  • Where appropriate for strategies closer to market, a socioeconomic analysis identifying potential challenges or barriers to adoption
What funding is available and for how long?

A maximum request of up to $5 million is available for all proposed projects. Projects up to three years in length are eligible for funding.

What is the review process?

Pre-Application Review: Submitted pre-applications undergo an internal review by the GCI Steering Committee to assess if the project is relevant to the RFA and that the application demonstrates the potential to meet the evaluation criteria. Those applications deemed to have significant potential for advancing GCI’s objective will be invited by the GCI Steering Committee to submit a full application. Applicants must submit a pre-application to be eligible to submit a full application.

Full Application Review: Full applications will undergo a peer-review process. First, each submission is assigned to an external technical review panel of at least three subject experts. In the second stage, the GCI Steering Committee will provide funding recommendations based on the external peer reviews and a comparative evaluation of how well submissions meet the Initiative’s objectives. The GCI Steering Committee will then review positive funding recommendations and make final selection decisions.

All external reviewers must agree and adhere to the terms outlined in FFAR’s Conflict of Interest Policy and Non-Disclosure Agreement. The GCI Steering Committee makes reasonable efforts to ensure that applications are not assigned to reviewers with a real or apparent conflict with the applicant, institution, or project personnel. Reviewers with a conflict of interest will be recused from evaluating or participating in the related discussions. Each stage of the review will be conducted confidentially, and as such, GCI Steering Committee will be responsible for protecting the confidentiality of the contents of the applications.

What are the evaluation criteria?

All applications will be screened for relevance, accuracy, completeness and compliance with GCI guidelines stated in this RFA. Pre-applications must demonstrate the potential to meet the evaluation criteria. Full applications then will be evaluated on the following criteria:

Qualifications and Research Environment

  • Has the principal investigator assembled a qualified research team with access to the appropriate field and laboratory facilities?
  • Does the application identify how/why GCI is uniquely positioned to fund this project?

Project Description and Approach

  • Are the goals and objectives adequate to address the challenge?
  • Does the application include appropriately thorough, tractable and feasible methods?
  • Does the application identify potential pitfalls and include an adequate risk evaluation and mitigation plan?

Anticipated Outcomes and Outputs

  • Does the application adequately describe the potential impact and applied relevance of the research?
  • How significant, i.e. transformative, are the potential outcomes of the project? Will the results impact both beef and dairy production? Will the results be relevant to a specific region, or to global production systems?
  • Is the budget justified by the work and are potential outcomes outlined?

Data Management and Dissemination; Overcoming Barriers to Adoption

  • Does the application include an adequate data management plan with a commitment to public access?
  • Does the proposed project address ‘public good’ by making data open and accessible to the public while adhering to GCI intellectual property terms (RFA Greener Cattle Initiative Addendum A), creating unique economic development opportunities, or contributing to food and agriculture workforce development?
  • Does the application emphasize scalability and present a plan for disseminating the project outcomes?
  • Does the application address socioeconomic challenges and/or barriers to adoption regarding the proposed project?
Whom do I contact for assistance?

For questions related to the online submission system, please contact FFAR’s Grant Management team at grants@foundationfar.org.

For questions related to the Greener Cattle Initiative, please email GreenerCattleInitiative@FoundationFAR.org. We only accept scientific or programmatic and grants inquiries by email.