Grant Program

Fertilizer Research and Education Program

Each year, FREP solicits suggestions for research, demonstration, and education projects related to the environmentally safe and agronomically sound use and handling of fertilizing materials. The FREP grant program utilizes an annual request for proposals, and all proposals are reviewed by technical and scientific subject matter experts in order to make grant funding decisions. See About FREP for a complete description of the grant process.

    • FREP utilizes an annual Request for Proposals procedure. The two-phase process includes requests for concept proposals and full proposals addressing research priorities.
    • The program receives funds through a mill assessment, not to exceed 1 mill ($0.001) per dollar of sales of fertilizer materials. The mill assessment is paid by any fertilizer licensee who sells or distributes packaged or bulk fertilizing materials to unlicensed purchasers in California.
    • The Technical Advisory Subcommittee (TASC) of the Fertilizer Inspection Advisory Board reviews proposals. The TASC is comprised of technical and scientific experts.
    • The process also includes an independent peer review panel, consisting of subject matter experts, who review proposals and provide commentary to the TASC.

  • The Regular Request for Proposals (RFP) has a two-phase annual process. Phase I is the submission and review of concept proposals. After concept proposals are approved, project leaders are invited to Phase II, the submission and review of full proposals.

    Each year, new research priorities are described in the Request for Proposals (RFP), which is released in December. The two-page concept proposals are due in late winter. The Technical Advisory Subcommittee (TASC) reviews the received concepts and recommends select proposals for advancement to Phase II of the process. Announcement of the TASC's decision is made in early spring.

    Proposals may focus on research and/or education projects to provide growers and the industry with cost-effective practices to improve the efficient use of fertilizer and minimize environmental impacts. Any individual or group may submit a concept proposal. Grant funding of $75,000 per year for up to three years is typical for projects, but projects over $75,000 and over three years will be considered on a case by case basis. Please read the request for concept proposals for details and requirements.

    Examples of successful concept proposals:

    In the competitive grant process, project leaders who are invited to submit full proposals advance to the second phase. Full proposals are typically due in late spring. In addition to a thorough evaluation by TASC members, full proposals are evaluated by an independent peer review panel consisting of subject matter experts in fertilizing materials, agronomy, plant physiology, principles of experimental research, production agriculture, and environmental issues related to fertilizing materials use. TASC meets in the summer to discuss full proposals and decide which projects to recommend to the Fertilizer Inspection Advisory Board (FIAB). The FIAB meets to discuss the TASC recommendations; then forwards the recommendations to the Secretary of CDFA for final approval. Grant agreements are initiated in the fall, after the Secretary's approval, and take effect on January 1.

Submission of Project Reports and Invoices

For full instructions on grant reporting, invoicing and procedures see the FREP Grant Manual

Project Report Due Dates

Interim reports cover progress made during the first six months of a project, and the six month periods between successive annual reports. One interim report is due each year within 30 days of the end of the covered reporting period for the duration of the grant agreement. Interim reports should not exceed three pages of text, excluding images, charts and tables.

Annual reports cover progress made during the first twelve months of a project and successive annual periods thereafter. One annual report is due within 30 days of the end of the covered reporting period for the duration of the grant agreement.

Final reports cover progress made during the entirety of the project and are due within 30 days of the termination of the grant agreement. Final reports are written in the same format as annual reports but must include data, results, and discussion from all years of the project in order to form a comprehensive and stand-alone document. The final report should cover the entire duration of the grant agreement; a reader should not be required to refer to earlier reports to discern the main activities and findings from the project.

Invoice Due Dates

Invoices are due no later than 30 calendar days after the end of the invoice period. Final invoices are due no later than 30 calendar days following the expiration date of the Grant Agreement term or after the project is complete, whichever comes first.

Each grantee will be provided with an abridged Task Budget with a Payment Provision included. The Payment Provision is consistent with each Grant Agreement's "Exhibit B, Payment Provision, section 1B."

Invoices submitted before the completion of an interim, annual, or final report will not be paid until the required project report has been received, reviewed and accepted by FREP staff. CDFA cannot reimburse the project leader for work performed before the start date of the grant or for work performed after the expiration date on the grant or extension.

Outreach Requirements

FREP funded projects must complete at least three outreach activities per year. Some examples of outreach activities include grower field days, workshops, meetings, and trade journal articles. Grantees are required to notify FREP staff of upcoming outreach activities via email at least two weeks prior to the event. FREP staff will use this information to publicize the event via the FREP website, CDFA press release, or other media. Notify FREP staff of upcoming outreach activities by emailing

Conference Participation

Project leaders are required to prepare a brief (three to five page) interpretive summary annually for the duration of the grant agreement. These interpretive summaries are collected and published in the annual FREP Conference Proceedings. Interpretive summaries are typically due in August in order to allow enough time for creation and printing of the Proceedings before the FREP Conference in October. FREP staff will contact grantees in July with specific requirements and deadlines for the interpretive summaries.

In addition to submitting annual interpretive summaries, grantees must present their research at least once at a FREP conference during the course of their project. FREP staff will contact grantees with projects that fit with each year's conference themes.