The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is accepting Sustainable Agriculture grant applications for on-farm research and demonstration projects.
Available through the MDA's Sustainable Agriculture Grant Demonstration Program, these grants support three-year projects that increase farm net profits, benefit the environment and improve the farm family quality of life.
Elgin, Minnesota farmer Andy Hart is in the second year of his project to reduce soil erosion by aerial seeding winter rye into fields of standing row crops.
"I'm pleased to be part of the Sustainable Ag Grants program. It has given me a chance to share what we are doing on our farm with other farmers around the state," Hart said. He said the annual Greenbook gives him a chance to share his grant project with other farmers long after the grant has ended.
"Having the Greenbook online allows farmers to research farming practices that may have been going on in a different part of the state for some time. The farmer can learn from what they have done and avoid some mistakes along the way."
The grant program is helping Suzanne Peterson of Foley research the feasibility of adding laying hens to her farm operation. Typically, the popular Leghorn breed needs replacing every two years and Peterson is hoping to determine alternative breeds which would need replacing only every four to five years.
"This grant allowed me the opportunity to try out several breeds, and to share that knowledge with other farmers. Every farmer struggles to make a living, so being given the chance to learn something and share it is great. I also had my son involved, giving him an opportunity to share his acquired knowledge through 4-H," Peterson said.
Other eligible projects have included integrated pest management, livestock production, organic farming, alternative energy crop production, fruit and vegetable production, conservation tillage and weed management.
Completed grant applications must be received by MDA no later than January 18, 2008. Applications are available at www.mda.state.mn.us/grants/grants/demogrant.htm or contact the Agricultural Development and Financial Assistance Division at 651-201-6012 for a hard copy application.