Here are some common questions about the AGRI Crop Research Grant. If you have questions that are not addressed here or in the Request for Proposal (RFP), email them to with "AGRI Crop Research Questions" in the subject line. We will post all questions and answers on this page.

Q: Are proposals that focus on corn and soybeans eligible under the grant? What if another crop is included (such as a cover crop)?

A: Proposals with a focus on corn or soybeans are eligible but preference will be given to research on crops with limited access to other research funds. Reviewers can award up to 5 of the 100 points toward this evaluation criteria. In the application, you will be able to explain the availability of funding opportunities for the type of project or crop you are proposing.

Q: Are Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) employees eligible to be paid using AGRI Crop Research funds?

A: The Crop Research Grant is funded with state money through the Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) Program. Because of that, the applicant cannot be an MDA employee and Crop Research Grant funds cannot be used to pay any of the salary or fringe of an MDA employee. However, an MDA employee can be involved in the project, assist a non-MDA applicant write their application, and conduct some of the grant project activities to accomplish the project objectives and outcomes.

Normal contractual services with previously established costs that the MDA provides for the public and other organizations can be paid with Crop Research funds and included in the work-plan and budget (for example, lab testing services).

Q: Though matching funds are not required, the application mentions that other sources of funding can demonstrate stakeholder support.  What are some suggested sources for these funds?

A: Grower associations as well as research and promotion councils often provide matching funds. Private companies may also have an interest in contributing to a project.

Q: Would research to develop or study a new use for a crop be eligible?

A: Yes; as long as the application meets the goals of the grant and the eligibility criteria as described in the current Request for Proposals.

Q: Does a researcher need to be involved?

A: As applied research is the goal of this grant, proposals lacking researchers with relevant training and experience are unlikely to be funded.

Q: Is the Crop Research Grant competitively awarded?

A: Yes. Proposals are reviewed by a panel of experts. Reviewers will use the evaluation criteria provided in the Request for Proposals to score the applications and make recommendations for awarding or not to the commissioner.

Q: Can the Minnesota Department of Agriculture offer assistance or just direction in fine-tuning my project proposal or writing this grant application?

A: Since it is a competitively awarded grant, we can only provide direction.

Q: Do you know of any grant writers that are familiar with the grant?

A: No, most principal investigators or organization project management staff have written their own applications for the grant.

Q: Are there limits to the number of applications from a company or would multiple applications be acceptable?

A: There is no limit to the number of applications any organization can submit, but the review committee and commissioner reserve the right to distribute the funds across a variety of crops, geographical locations, and recipients.

Q: Will the results of all funded projects need to be made public?

A: Once a project is funded the application becomes public. The applicant needs to identify trade secrets in their application in order to prevent information from becoming public. Results must be publicly disseminated. Read the Privacy Notice and Data Classification section of the RFP for more details.

Q: Can I include researchers from other states as collaborators or do all researchers in the project have to be based in Minnesota?

A: You can have collaborators from other states. Collaborators should provide skills or equipment not available locally. The principal investigator must be from Minnesota, and the research must benefit all or part of the agriculture sector in Minnesota.

Q: When would the funds become available for project awarded in this grant cycle?

A: Approved applicants will be notified in late January. Grant contracts can be completed as early as mid-February; then the organization can start incurring project expenses. We cannot reimburse for expenses incurred before the grant contract is fully signed.

Q: We would like to pay a reasonable honorarium or stipend to a grower for taking economic risk from allowing our research to be conducted on their land. 1) Is this type of expense eligible? 2) If so, what amount would be reasonable?

A: 1) Previously approved proposals have included costs for stipends to partner farmers in the “Other” budget category. Common reasons are for providing space dedicated to the project, assisting with the work, or incurring risk to their crop. 2) The amount of the stipend depends on the specific circumstances as explained and justified in the application. Reviewers use this information to determine if the cost is reasonable.

Q: The University of Minnesota (UMN) seems to receive a majority of the awards. Are for-profit companies eligible and encouraged to apply?

A: Yes; for-profit companies are eligible, as long as the application meets the eligibility criteria, including plans for outcomes that will benefit Minnesota agricultural groups other than the applicant. Typically, we receive the most applications from the UMN, followed by those from crop research counsels, and then only a couple from for-profit organizations. Note that the results of funded projects must be publicly disseminated.

Q: Is tuition eligible for use as graduate student project personnel fringe costs?

A: Yes, tuition is an eligible cost for AGRI Crop Research Grant funds as long as the applicant organization usually pays for tuition as part of a graduate student’s fringe benefits.

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