We will reopen applications for this grant in summer or fall of 2024. Sign up for MDA email updates with this link to stay up to date on this grant and others.
The Minnesota Down Payment Assistance Grant offers up to $15,000 for qualified farmers purchasing their first farm. The grant program is administered by the MDA's Rural Finance Authority (RFA) as part of its mission to develop the state’s agricultural resources.
The Minnesota State Legislature approved $1 million for fiscal year 2024 Down Payment Assistance Grants to Minnesota farmers earning less than $250,000 per year in gross agricultural sales. Applications will remain valid for purchases closing within six months after grant approval or until June 30, 2024, whichever is sooner.
The RFA expects to award approximately 66 grants in this funding cycle, dependent on size of grant requests. The RFA will award these grants using a random lottery process, with preference given to emerging farmers. If you are not an emerging farmer, you may still apply. Applications will be accepted from July 1 to July 31, 2023. The RFA will make award decisions in early to mid-August.
Emerging Farmers include farmers and aspiring farmers who are:
- Persons with disabilities
- American Indian or Alaskan Natives
- Members of a community of color
- Young (35 and younger)
- Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, or asexual (LGBTQIA+)
- Urban (reside in cities with a population over 5,000)
- and any other emerging farmers as determined by the commissioner
Am I Eligible?
- Individual (LLCs, partnerships, etc. must apply as individual)
- Minnesota resident
- Earn less than $250,000 annually in gross agricultural sales
- Applicants and their spouses have never owned a farm
- Will provide the majority of labor and management on the farm
- Will farm the land for at least 5 years
- In good standing with the State of Minnesota
- Have not been convicted of a crime related to a state grant agreement
- Farmland or other agricultural real estate (tillable acres, hog barn, commercial greenhouse, etc.)
- Within the borders of Minnesota
- Must close on purchase after application approval and within designated timeframe. This grant cannot be applied retroactively toward purchases that have already closed.
The Minnesota Legislature appropriated $500,000 for the first round of Down Payment Assistance Grant funding, which took place from January to June 2023. The state has also funded $1,000,000 for both a second and third round of funding, which will begin July 2023 and July 2024, respectively.
Round 2 Information Session
On June 14, 2023 the MDA hosted a Zoom call to review the grant program, explain changes for the next round of funding (July 2023 - June 2024), and hear your questions and comments. A recording of the call is available here on YouTube.