Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA)
12/12/18 4:00 PM CST Receipt
Grants of up to $50,000 to Minnesota nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, individuals affiliated with educational institutions, and farmers to promote sustainable agriculture. The purpose of this program is to publicize and demonstrate the environmental benefit, economic profitability, and energy efficiency or sustainable agriculture techniques or systems from production through marketing.
Grant projects need to show:
1. The ability to maximize direct or indirect energy savings or production;
2. A positive effect or reduced adverse effect on the environment; and
3. Increased profitability for the individual farm by reduced costs or improving marketing opportunities.
Eligible types of projects include (but are not limited to):
-Enterprise diversification and organic production using traditional and non-traditional crops and livestock;
-Cover crops and crop rotations;
-Conservation tillage and weed management;
-Seed breeding and/or conservation;
-Integrated pest management systems for insects, weeds, and diseases;
-Livestock production systems or management strategies;
-Nutrient and pesticide management, including runoff protection;
-Farm-based energy efficiency or production such as wind, methane, or biomass;
-Conservation (energy, soil, water);
-Developing/refining/improving marketing opportunities, including season extension and post-harvest storage and handling;
-Other creative ideas that address farm input reduction or management, conservation, energy, and/or
Reviewers are looking for interesting ideas that may or may not work. Ideas do not have to be brand new, but should be new to Minnesota or the part of the state where they’re being proposed.
Eligible costs include:
-Wages for time spent directly on the grant project (beyond normal farming operations). Provide justification for the hourly rate;
-Consultant fees. Provide justification for the hourly rate;
-Costs to lease or use farm equipment needed for the project;
-Durable equipment or other items necessary for the project valued at less than $1,400 each;
-Project-related services such as soil testing or other analyses;
-Postage, printing, and telephone expenses related to the project;
-Outreach expenses (advertising, handouts, refreshments, etc.) for one outreach event in the final year.
GrantWatch ID#: 137510
Applicants may request up to $50,000 per project.
Projects must have a duration of at least two years, but may last no more than three.
Minnesota farmers, educational institutions, individuals at educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply. Applicants must be Minnesota residents. Projects must take place on Minnesota farms. Projects led by a farmer or group of farmers receive priority.
A farmer is someone who cultivates, operates, or manages a farm for profit, and who grows or raises at least $1,000 of agricultural products for sale annually.
Government entities are not eligible.
Cooperators & Cooperator Letters:
If you are a farmer:
-You must involve at least one Technical Cooperator. She or he should have technical expertise that will strengthen the project. It might be assistance in soil science, biology, agronomy, horticulture, entomology, engineering, marketing, finance, data collection, statistics, etc. Use the Technical Cooperator to help design the project, carry it out, and/or review and interpret the results. This person is expected to serve as an advisor – not someone you pay to do the project for you. A technical advisor cannot be a family member.
-Applications must include a letter of commitment from at least one Technical Cooperator. In the letter, the cooperator must explain how he or she will contribute to the project. If the budget contains funds for the Cooperator, the letter must include the hourly rate that he or she will charge.
If you are not a farmer:
-You must have at least one Farmer Cooperator who is meaningfully involved in designing and carrying out the project. The budget should include funds to compensate the farmer for his or her involvement. The farmer is expected to be involved in the project -- not simply provide land where it can be conducted.
-Applications must include a letter of commitment from the farmer(s). In the letter, the farmer must explain how he or she will be involved in the project.
Other important information and requirements:
-Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) employees are not eligible to receive grants from this program.
-Any applicant may receive only one Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant (SADG) at a time.
-Every project must publicize and hold an outreach event (preferably a field day) in the final season/year of the project.
Ineligible costs include:
-Long lasting, general purpose equipment. Examples include: tractors, motorized vehicles, buildings (including greenhouses and high tunnels), windmills or wind turbines, building construction, and computers;
- Project specific equipment items that cost more than $1,400;
-Compensation for a grant writing consultant or grant manager;
-Business start-up costs (i.e., starting a farm);
-Pre-award costs (expenses incurred before a contract is signed).
All completed applications must be received by 4:00 PM CST on Wednesday, December 12, 2018. It is strongly preferred that you use the on-line application. If you cannot apply using this process, you may submit an application by mail, email, or by delivery to the MDA.
Submit all questions regarding the RFP to Ann Kuzj. You must submit questions by December 3, 2018.
Applicants may request up to $50,000 per project. The first $25,000 does not need to be matched by the applicant. For requests between $25,000 and $50,000, applicants must provide a dollar for dollar match on the amount above $25,000.
- Sources of the cash-match may include: non-state funds (funds that were NOT obtained through the budgeting process of the Minnesota Legislature or granted by a State agency) in the form of cash, loans, other grants, or liquid capital assets dedicated to the project. If the proposed project has been submitted to or funded by a Federal grant program, please specify the grantor, the funding amount, and the purpose of the grant funding.
- For projects that are receiving greater than $25,000 in State funding and require an applicant match, the value of the land used for the grant project may be counted toward the match. Applicants should use average farmland rental rates from the University of Minnesota Extension. No other in-kind match will be accepted.
All applicants will be notified of the review results, whether their application is approved or not, approximately eight weeks after the submission due date. Announcements will be made in Mid-February.
All questions received, along with the answers to those questions, will be posted on the FAQ page:
For more ideas, see previously funded projects summarized in the Greenbook:
Farmland Rates from University of Minnesota Extension:
Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.
Sending applications via email:
Ann Kuzj, Grants Specialist
Sending applications via mail or delivery:
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
625 Robert St. North
Saint Paul, MN 55155