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AGRI Minnesota Value Added Grant Program

Grants to Minnesota Farmers, Businesses, Cooperatives, and
Agencies to Enhance Value-Added Agricultural Markets

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA)

Deadline Date:

10/05/18 4:00 PM CST Receipt


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Grants to Minnesota individual farmers, businesses, agricultural cooperatives, and local governments to enhance and diversify agricultural markets. This program seeks to increase the sale of agricultural products by improving market access, enhancing food safety, and diversifying the market of value-added agricultural products.

This program focuses on areas of greatest opportunity and potential economic impact to create agricultural jobs and profitable businesses in the categories of livestock investment, value-added business and market development, and renewable energy. The AGRI Value Added Grant Program is intended for new or established for-profit businesses to stimulate development or growth of value-added agriculture that supports Minnesota agricultural producers and processors to expand markets for Minnesota agricultural products.

Program Goals:

The goal of the Value Added Grant Program is to increase sales of Minnesota agricultural products by diversifying markets, increasing market access, and increasing food safety of value-added products. The MDA is providing these competitive grants to encourage development of value-added agriculture. Value-added is the increase in value of an agricultural product through added processing, segregating, or manufacturing. These grants are intended to support businesses that will:

-Start, expand, or update their livestock product processing;
-Purchase equipment to start, upgrade, or modernize their value-added facilities;
-Increase the use and processing of Minnesota agricultural products (required for all grants);
-Purchase equipment or facility improvement to increase food safety (ex. implementing a food safety plan); and
-Increase farmers’ processing and aggregating capacity to sell to schools, hospitals or other institutions.
-For Level 2 projects: Provide significant economic impact to a region of the state.

For level 1 projects, priority will be given to applications that market to schools or other institutions, have a meat processing component, are addressing a food safety plan or requirement, where applicant is a minority or veteran owned business, or where applicant serves communities of color or Native American Tribal communities.

For level 2 projects, priority will be given to applications where a feasibility study has been conducted, the percentage (%) of Minnesota grown ingredients/inputs is at or above 50%, where applicant is a minority or veteran owned business, or where applicant serves communities of color or Native American Tribal communities.

Eligible Grant Projects and Expenses:

Equipment Purchases and Physical Improvements: Eligible grant projects are the purchase and installation of equipment and the costs incurred to make physical improvements to or construction of a processing facility (capital expenditures).

To be eligible, the equipment or facility improvement grant project needs to be used in the process of adding value to an agricultural product. Grant project purchases must address improved efficiency, expansion, modernization, or profitability of the business. These benefits must also increase or maintain market access, market diversity of applicant or supplier, or improve food safety AND sales of Minnesota agricultural products.

Note: Routine maintenance is considered a normal operating expense and will not be funded.

Project examples include but are not limited to:
-Equipment that helps to maintain the identity and traceability of products
-Grading/packing/labeling/packaging/sorting equipment
-Equipment used to process agricultural products such as fermenter for wine production, pelletizer for feed production, commercial mixer for food production, color sorter for seed cleaning, or smoke house for meat products
-Agriculture related processing facilities including fruit, vegetable, meat, grain, cultivated timber, etc.
-Washing systems, delivery and treatment devices, and improvements
-Hand-washing sinks (mobile or stationary)
-Processing equipment or physical improvements to value-added processing facility to reduce food safety risks
-Cooler walls and refrigeration units
-Contractor costs and materials for installation of approved equipment, plumbing, drainage, venting and performing electrical work
-Refrigerated trucks to access new markets (not routine replacement)
-Construction costs for building walls, ceilings, floors of a food, feed, or other type of agricultural product processing facility
-Creamery or milk product processing and packaging equipment
-Livestock slaughter equipment and facility additions
-Season extension facilities – item cannot be used for production of an agricultural commodity unless required for food safety

Additional uses may be proposed.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 179425

Estimated Size of Grant:

For Level 1 projects: maximum grant award is $200,000; minimum grant award is $1,000.

For Level 2 projects: maximum grant award is $1,000,000; minimum grant award is $200,001.

Term of Contract:

Eligible grant project expenditures cannot be made until after you are notified of the grant award, which is 6-8 weeks after the submission due date and should be completed in about 18 months.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Individuals (farmers) or businesses, agricultural cooperatives, local government entities. All applicants must be in good standing (no back taxes, no defaults on Minnesota-backed financing, acceptable performance on past MDA grants, and in compliance with current state regulations). See Request for Proposals (RFP) below for more detail.

Eligible Applicants:

-Individuals (including farmers) or for-profit businesses: individuals or companies (including LLCs and S and C corporations) whose primary function involves the production, processing, or marketing of Minnesota agricultural products; or
-Agricultural cooperatives: Member-owned business entities that provide, offer, or sell agricultural products or services for the mutual bene t of the members; or
-Local government entities involved in the opera on of a farmers market, food hub, or other activity that involves the processing or marketing of Minnesota agriculture products.
-All applicants must be in good standing with the State of Minnesota (no back taxes owed, no defaults on Minnesota State-backed financing for the last 7 years, acceptable performance on past MDA grants, and in compliance with current state regulations).
-Individuals must live or work in Minnesota, businesses must be based in Minnesota, and projects must occur in Minnesota.

Economic development organizations, nonprofit organizations, and academic entities are not eligible, but may apply on behalf of and act as fiscal agents for eligible individuals or businesses. These organizations must:

-Provide letters from eligible farmers or businesses they represent that clearly describe the bene t of the grant project to their businesses; and
-Clearly identify these eligible entities and focus the application on their businesses.

School districts that purchase processing equipment to increase purchasing of locally grown products are not eligible for a grant under this proposal but are eligible for our Farm to School Grant.

Note: MDA employees and their spouses are not eligible for this grant.

Ineligible Grant Expenses:
-Expenditures incurred prior to no ca on of award, which is 6-8 weeks after the submission due date
-Equipment and facilities used for agriculture plant or livestock production. Examples include watering systems, harvesting
equipment, and equipment or facilities used for livestock care and feeding
-Advertising, public relations, entertainment and amusement costs
-Construction or expansion of a restaurant or grocery store and restaurant equipment or furniture. Grocery store equipment may be eligible for a Good Food Access Grant
-Supplies, consumables, ingredients, and items that are not reusable
-Beginning inventory costs, start-up costs, beginning working capital costs, and license fees
-Bad debts, related collection costs, and legal costs
-Contingency expenses for events or set aside for possible overages
-Donated or volunteer (in-kind) services. While these may be furnished to an applicant by professional and technical personnel, consultants, and other skilled and unskilled labor, the value of these services is not an eligible cost
-Donations, in-kind contributions, including property and services, made by the applicant, regardless of the recipient
Employees’ wages and benefits.
-Fines, penalties and other settlement expenses resulting from failure of the applicant to comply with Federal, State, local, or Indian tribal laws and regulations
-Indirect costs (expenses of doing business that are not readily identified with the project)
-Lobbying and political activities
-Fundraising; including financial campaigns, solicitation of gifts and bequests, and similar expenses incurred to raise capital or obtain contributions
-GAP certification audit costs are not eligible under the Value Added Grant.

Pre-Application Information:

Round 1 applications are due no later than 4:00 pm CST on Friday, October 5, 2018.

The Round 2 application period will be open from January 2019 to March 2019.

The MDA anticipates awarding up to $2,500,000 per round of applications through the Value Added Grant Program. Up to $1,000,000 will be reserved for Level 1 projects; up to $1,500,000 will be reserved for Level 2 projects.

Applicant must provide documentation for at least 75% of the total project cost as a cash match (no in-kind matches). Sources of the applicant funds can include: cash, loans, other grants, or liquid capital assets dedicated to the project. Other funds from the State of Minnesota cannot be used as cash-match.


Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply Online:

Julie LaClair, Grants Specialist

Minnesota Department of Agriculture
625 North Robert St.
St. Paul, MN 55155

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Minnesota