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Grants to Minnesota County Fairs for Projects to
Promote Agriculture, Heritage, and the Arts

AGRI County Fair Grants

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA)

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

02/03/22 4:00 PM Central Time


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Grants to Minnesota county fairs for projects that promote agriculture and heritage within the state. Interested applicants must submit a notice of intent prior to submitting the full proposal. Funding is intended to support programs, projects, and events that preserve and advance agriculture and agricultural products, as well as the state's arts, history, agricultural, and cultural heritage.

The Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation Program (AGRI) was established to advance Minnesota’s agricultural and renewable energy industries (MINN. STAT. 41A.12). AGRI has made significant economic impacts by increasing productivity, improving efficiency, and assisting the development of agricultural products. 

The Legacy Amendment was established to support and preserve Minnesota’s arts, history, and cultural heritage. 

Two types of grants are available in this program. Fairs can apply for one or both:

Category 1 (AGRI): Preserving and Promoting Minnesota Agriculture 

Grant funds must be used to preserve and promote Minnesota agriculture. Examples of eligible projects include:

  • Sound equipment for judging in livestock barns
  • Hand sanitizing stations
  • Fans for livestock barns
  • Agricultural education displays

Category 2 (Legacy):  Providing Access to the Arts or the State’s Agricultural, Historical, and Cultural Heritage

Grant funds must be used to enhance access and education to preserve and promote Minnesota arts and agricultural history. Projects must provide access to the arts or the state’s agricultural, historical, and cultural heritage. Funded activities must supplement (i.e., add something to enhance something) traditional programming and not substitute (i.e., take the place of). Examples of eligible projects include:

  • Spinning demonstrations
  • Blacksmith or primitive cooking workshop
  • Antique equipment display that shows how farming was done in the past
  • Native American storyteller

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 179461

Estimated Size of Grant:

Category 1 (AGRI):
- A total of $935,000 is available.
- Each county fair will be eligible for at least $9,842 (this will be updated after November 30, 2021).

Category 2 (Legacy):
- A total of $400,000 is available.
- Each fair will be eligible for at least $4,210 (this will be updated after November 30, 2021).

The total amount of funds available in each category will be divided by the number of fairs indicating that they plan to apply.

Term of Contract:

- The AGRI funds will be available until spring 2025 (up to three years after the start date). The funds are intended to be used for your 2022 fair, but they may be also be used in 2023 and 2024. Grant contract agreements may not extend beyond three years from the effective date of the contract.
- The Legacy funds must be used before June 30, 2023 (likely during your 2022 fair).

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Each of the state’s county fairs is eligible to apply for the grants. Applications must come from the county agricultural society. All applicants must be in good standing with the State of Minnesota.

If a building needs to be painted to protect against weather damage or for some other reason to maintain the structural integrity of the building, then the project can be funded. If a building is to be painted exclusively for aesthetic reasons (i.e.: so one building matches all the others around it), then the project cannot be funded.

Manufactured signs explaining how to navigate the grounds, how to get to the fair or identify the non-agricultural buildings cannot be funded. Signs that are agriculture education are acceptable.

Ineligible expenses include but are not limited to:
• Expenditures incurred prior to contract execution
• Expenses not approved or listed in the grant contract
• General purpose public use items and areas (e.g., restrooms, commissary, and parking lots)
• Meals, food, lodging, transportation, tickets to shows or sporting events
• Cash or gift cards
• Advertising and public relations
• Entertainment, amusement, and social activities not meeting the objectives of the grant (selected exceptions made for Category II)
• Donated or volunteer (in-kind) goods and services
• Indirect costs (expenses of doing business that are not readily identified with the project)
• Fundraising, including financial campaigns, solicitation of gifts and bequests, and similar expenses incurred to raise capital or obtain contributions
• Lobbyists, political contributions

Grant funds will not reimburse projects the benefit the general public such as public roads or a fairground administrative office.

Pre-Application Information:

- Notice of Intent to Apply Due November 30, 2021, 4:00 pm Central Time
- Notification of Maximum Award Request December 7, 2021 (estimated)
- Applications Due February 3, 2022, 4:00 pm Central Time
- Notification of Award Decisions February 17, 2022 (estimated)

Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their proposals through the online application system. It is best practice to submit your application at least 24 hours in advance to prevent unforeseen delays.

If an applicant cannot submit through the online system, they should contact the Grant Administrator at least one week before the application deadline.

MDA staff and leadership will review all applications for appropriateness. If a particular project is deemed inappropriate, MDA staff will inform the county fair of the ineligible components and will provide the county fair with another opportunity to submit an eligible project.

The AGRI and Legacy funds will be contracted separately. Most fairs will receive two contracts.

- Fairs may request to receive up to 50% of their AGRI award as an advance in their application. These advances will not be automatic as in previous years. County fairs that ould like to use this option should indicate so in their application. The remaining 50% will be available to grantees after completion of the entire project.
- Legacy grants will only be dispersed on a reimbursement basis.


For more information about the AGRI Program:

Contact Information:

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

- Online Intent to Apply:
- Online application portal:

Applicants not able to submit through the online system should contact the Grant Administrator by calling 651-201-6500 or emailing

For questions or technical assistance, contact the above telephone or email with “County Fair Grants” in the subject line.

Ashley Bress
Ag Marketing & Development

625 Robert Street North
Saint Paul, MN 55155-2538
Phone: 651-201-6000
Toll Free: 800-967-2474

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Minnesota

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