The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for two grant programs.
Applications are being accepted for the Value-Added Grant program and the Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation Sustainable Agriculture and Demonstration Grant program.
MDA anticipates awarding up to $1 million in Value-Added Grants to help boost sales of Minnesota agricultural products by diversifying markets, increasing market access and ensuring value-added food products are safe to eat.
New or established for-profit businesses may apply for funding to stimulate development of value-added agricultural products through added processing, marketing or manufacturing. Grant funds reimburse up to 25% of the total project cost. A maximum grant amount of $200,000 and a minimum of $1,000 will be awarded in this current funding cycle. Equipment purchases and facility improvements are eligible.
Funding for the grants was established through the Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation Program (AGRI).
Grant applications are due by 4 p.m. Oct. 5.
Applications are available at the AGRI Value-Added Grant website and may be submitted online (preferred method), by mail or in person.
The AGRI Sustainable Agriculture and Demonstration (SAD) Grant program provides funding for projects that explore new ways of conserving natural resources, enhancing farm profitability, increasing energy efficiency and improving life in rural communities.
In the past, SAD grants have funded a wide range of projects such as exploring farm diversification; cover crops and crop rotation; conservation tillage; and input reduction strategies and alternative energies like wind, methane and biomass.
Projects are published annually in the MDA’s Greenbook, which provides a summary of each project along with results, management tips and other resources.
For example, awardees of a 2015 SAD grant, Megan and Steve Henry of Sundogs Prairie Farm in Douglas County, Minn., explored how to maximize vegetable production and profitability in a segmented, modular hoop house that can be moved and reassembled in a new location. They fine-tuned their management skills and found that using a mobile hoop house allowed them to produce spring carrots a month earlier. The hoop house also maximized their tomato and cucumber crop, and extended their fall spinach by a month or longer.
SAD applications from farmers receive priority. However, the program also funds nonprofit and educational organizations, so long as farmers are involved in the project. Projects last two to three years and may be funded at up to $50,000.
Grant applications are due by 4 p.m. Dec. 12.
For more information and to apply, visit MDA's Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program webpage.