Minnesota Department of Agriculture funding available for sustainable farm projects

Published 9:00 pm Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Farmers and Minnesota nonprofit and educational organizations focused on testing new ideas in sustainable agriculture are encouraged to apply for a sustainable agriculture and demonstration grant by 4 p.m. Dec. 17.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s SustAg Program is part of the Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation Program, which administers grants to farmers, agribusinesses, schools and more throughout the state of Minnesota. The Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation Program exists to advance Minnesota’s agricultural and renewable energy sectors, according to a press release.

SustAg grant projects explore new ways of conserving natural resources, enhancing farm profitability, increasing energy efficiency and improving life in rural communities.

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Applications from farmers receive priority, but the program also funds Minnesota nonprofit and educational organizations if Minnesota farmers are meaningfully involved in the project. Projects last two to three years and may be funded at up to $50,000, with applicants providing a dollar-for-dollar match on amounts above $25,000. A total of $200,000 is available this year.

SustAg 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.

“We wanted to be able to test out production methods for pastured livestock that could benefit our farm, and other small farmers in our area,” past recipient Randy Kleinman said. “If we hadn’t received the grant, we would not have been able to try these new methods out and learn what works for our context.”

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 more information and to apply, visit www.mda.state.mn.us.