ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is accepting applications for the Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant program. These funds promote conservation of environmental resources and strive to improve on-farm profitability and quality of life. The MDA awards up to $250,000 for on-farm sustainable agriculture research or demonstration projects. Eligible recipients include; Minnesota farmers, educational institutions and individual staff, and non-profit organizations. Farmer’s projects receive priority. All non-farmer initiated projects must show significant collaboration with farmers.
“Farming in Minnesota has a rich past of progress and success,” said Commissioner Dave Frederickson. “It’s our responsibility to keep those advancements in agriculture moving along for future farmers. These grant funds support innovative ideas to sustain our agricultural economy and environment for upcoming generations.”
Since 1989, the MDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program has awarded more than $3 million to 300 statewide projects. Grants are available to fund:
· Project diversification and organic production using traditional and non-traditional crops and livestock
· Cover crops and crop rotations to increase nitrogen uptake, reduce erosion, or control pests
· Conservation tillage and weed management
· Cropping systems to start integrated pest management systems for insects, weeds and diseases
· Nutrient and pesticide management, with an effort to keep them out of water bodies
· Energy production, such as wind, methane, or biomass
· Developing/refining marketing opportunities, season extension, and post-harvest storage and handling
· Other creative ideas addressing farm conservation, energy, and/or profitability
The grant application is available on the MDA website at: www.mda.state.mn.us/grants/grants/demogrant.aspx or by contacting the Agricultural Marketing and Development Division at 651-201-6012. Completed applications must be received no later than January 23, 2015.