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Apply for funding through the AGRI Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant

By Annie Klodd, Extension Educator - Fruit and Vegetable Production. 

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture just released the call-for-proposals for the 2019 AGRI Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program. This is a good opportunity for farmers, including fruit and vegetable farmers, to apply for funding for research and demonstration projects on their farm. A total of $200,000 will be awarded this year, and proposals may request up to $50,000.

According to the MDA website, "This grant supports innovative on-farm research and demonstrations. It funds projects that explore sustainable agriculture practices and systems that could make farming more profitable, resource efficient, and personally satisfying."

Applications from farmers are given priority, but farmers can also collaborate with UMN researchers, UMN Extension, other non-profit organizations, and/or other farmers on their proposed projects. Non-profit and educational organizations can also apply, as long as the proposed projects actively involve farmers in a meaningful way. The projects should have an educational component, and last 2-3 years.

Need help with a proposal idea?

Fruit and vegetable farmers with ideas for project proposals are welcome to contact the UMN Extension horticulture educators to discuss ideas. We all have experience in writing successful grant applications and are happy to provide feedback and suggestions on your proposals.

What types of projects are funded?

Some recent examples of previously funded projects include:
  • Using sheep and cover crops in strawberry rotation
  • Testing of a non-traditional process for cleanings and sorting Minnesota wine grape varietals and demonstrate removal of other material at the crush pad
  • Experts in hop growing, beer brewing, and sensory analysis will investigate how to best evaluate, communicate, and market the specific aroma and terroir of Minnesota grown hops
  • Develop an agrophenological calendar for Northeastern Minnesota that will serve as a more reliable planting guide for farmers and users of greenhouses and high tunnels
  • Testing different training systems and varieties to improve the profitability of gooseberries
The deadline for proposals is December 17, 2019.

For full information on the grant opportunity, and to apply, visit this page: https://www.mda.state.mn.us/business-dev-loans-grants/agri-sustainable-agriculture-demonstration-grant-past-projects
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