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MN Department of Ag Grants Available to Farmers

By Emily Wilmes, University of Minnesota Extension

It’s no secret that farming comes with a huge financial commitment.  Perhaps you could use some financial support to improve your labor, facilities, or another part of your farm.  Luckily, there are some amazing grant programs through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture!

One popular program is the Livestock Investment Grant.  To be eligible, Minnesota livestock farmers must fulfill this criteria: be in good standing with the state of Minnesota (no back taxes), be a current Minnesota resident or entity authorized to farm in Minnesota, and be a principal operator of the farm. The 2018 Livestock Investment Grant is for project expenses incurred between January 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019. Qualifying producers would be reimbursed ten percent of the first $500,000 of investment, with a minimum investment of $4,000. Qualifying expenditures include the purchase, construction, or improvement of buildings or facilities for the production of livestock, and the purchase of fencing as well as feeding and waste management equipment. The application for the grant program is open now through December 15, 2017.

Another grant opportunity that may be of interest to young farmers or farm families planning transition is the Dairy Business Planning Grant.  This program covers 50 percent of the cost of completing a business plan for a dairy operation. Producers who have applied for this grant are exploring the feasibility of expansion, environmental upgrades, stray voltage testing or transferring the operation to the next generation producer. Applications are funded on a first come first serve basis. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture can provide 50% of eligible project costs up to a maximum of $5,000.  The actual amount of funds awarded to any applicant is based on the viability of the project, the project’s economic impact, and fund availability.

If you are interested in sustainability, there is the Sustainable Agriculture Grant.  This program provides small grants to test ideas that could conserve natural resources, enhance profitability, and improve life on the farm.   Projects can last for up to three years, and applicants may receive up to $25,000 for their projects. Grantees must be willing to share what they learn with others.  Grants are available to fund on-farm research and demonstrations and may include: Farm diversification using traditional and nontraditional crops and livestock, cover crops and crop rotations, conservation tillage, or other creative ideas that focus on conservation, energy, profitability, and/or farmers’ quality of life.  The application deadline is December 13, 2017.

This is just a small sampling of the grants available through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.  For more information on these and other grant programs, visit


Emily Wilmes
Extension Educator, Ag Production Systems - Livestock
(320) 255-6169
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