ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has another round of funding available for projects to help farmers, producers and processors add value to their operations. A total of $1 million in funding has been made available through the Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation Program (AGRI), established by the legislature to advance Minnesota’s agricultural and renewable energy industries.
The MDA will distribute the funds through its AGRI Value Added Grant Program which aims to increase sales of Minnesota agricultural products by diversifying markets and by increasing market access and food safety. Specifically, these grants are intended to:
· start, expand or update livestock product processing businesses;
· purchase equipment to start, upgrade, or modernize value added businesses;
· increase on-farm food safety, such as implementation of a food safety plan
· increase farmers’ processing and aggregating capacity to sell to schools, hospitals or others
Applications with a meat processing, farm-to-school (or other institution) component, or are addressing Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) or similar type of food safety plan will receive priority, but all value added proposals are encouraged to apply.
Equipment purchases or physical improvements are eligible for 25 percent of the total project cost up to a maximum grant award of $150,000. There is a minimum grant of $1,000. Equipment purchases and facility improvements must accomplish the goals of the grant and address improved efficiency, expansion, modernization, or profitability.
This round of applications must be received no later than 4:00 p.m. on March 6, 2015. Grant applications are submitted through our online system. The application is accessed through a link on the MDA Value Added website: www.mda.state.mn.us/valueadded.aspx. If you cannot apply using this process, you may submit an application by e-mail, mail, or by dropping it off at the MDA. An application must be received by MDA staff by the deadline to be included in this round of applications.