This page will be updated with questions that have been asked and answered about the Down Payment Assistance Grant. If you have questions that you'd like addressed, please submit them to Jenny Heck at or 651-201-6316.

Eligibility - Land

I already purchased farmland. Can I use this grant retroactively for my recent purchase?

No. The grant is designed to facilitate new purchases. Eligible purchases must close within 6 months after a grant application is approved.


I own farmland that isn’t in production. Am I eligible to apply for this grant to purchase new farmland?

No. Even if the farmland you own is not in production or a small acreage, if it is zoned for agricultural use or has tillable acres, you are not eligible for this grant because it is not your first-time owning farmland. You can contact your county to find details about your property’s land-use classifications.


I own land in the USDA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Am I eligible? Can this grant be used to purchase farmland in CRP?

Land in CRP will be considered on a case-by-case basis dependent on the details of your CRP contract. Contact us at or 651-201-6316 to review.


Are urban farms and indoor growing facilities eligible purchases?

Yes, if you can prove you will be farming the space for at least 5 years. Land that is not zoned for agriculture may be subject to additional application requirements, like photos of the space, copy of agriculture license, or other relevant documents.


Eligibility - Farmer

Am I required to have farming experience or provide a Schedule F federal tax filing?

No. However, if you do not have a Schedule F federal tax filing, we may ask to review your Form 1040 federal tax filing or other relevant documents to prove program eligibility.


Can I purchase farmland from a family member with this grant?

Yes. There are no restrictions on buying farmland from a family member with the grant.


If I am purchasing farmland with a sibling or other individual, would we be eligible?

The individual on the application must be the only buyer. You could consider splitting the sale so there is only one buyer for each parcel. If the sale is split, both individuals would be eligible to apply. Married couples purchasing farmland together are eligible and can only submit one application.


Can my spouse and I each apply for the grant?

No. Spouses who file their taxes jointly are considered one.


Are LLCs eligible to apply if they are a single-member LLC?

No. The way the grant statute is written, only “individuals” are eligible. Farms that aren’t structured as individual sole proprietors (including LLCs with only one member or a married couple as the only members) must apply and purchase the land as individuals not as the business entity. It is okay if your loan is in the name of the LLC or other business entity as long as the deed for the land and all purchase documents (settlement statement, contract for deed) are in the name of the individual.


Are there any requirements surrounding eligible visas or US citizenship?

No, but the grant does require that applicants are Minnesota residents, which we define as: the applicant has established a permanent home within Minnesota’s borders and has no present intention of moving outside the state.



Can I use this grant as part of the cash required for a Farm Service Agency (FSA) or bank loan?

Assuming there are no additional conditions from your lending institutions, yes. We will issue an approval letter for grantees to share with their lenders, and we will make grant funds available to the buyer before the sale closes to be used as all or part of a cash down payment. Lenders may require additional information, such as a copy of your grant application, if you do not have sufficient cash without the grant award.


Are contracts for deed eligible for this grant?

Yes. A farmer may use this grant if they are purchasing farmland with a contract for deed. Instead of a settlement statement, we will require a copy of the notarized contract for deed.


Technical Assistance

Who is available to help me complete my application?

Below is a list of professionals who have identified themselves as willing to help farmers with their application, provided as a service to those in need of assistance. The MDA is not responsible for the actions of and does not endorse any of these entities. If you would like to be added to this list, please contact

Name & Contact Agency Region Specialty

Anthony Adams, 320-316-3339

UMN Extension Central Minnesota Small farms, direct marketing

Brian Boomgaarden,


MN West Technical & Community College SW Minnesota Farm business management

Mike Dierks, 507-372-3427

MN West Technical & Community College SW Minnesota Farm business management

Andrea Eger

The Nature Conservancy Statewide Grant writing, emerging farmers

Erik Heimark, 218-232-1303

Central Lakes College Statewide Specialty crops, direct marketing, farm business management

Kyle Huneke, 507-438-4924

Riverland Community College Statewide Specialty crops, direct marketing, farm business management

Land Access Navigators, 651-528-0608

(Multiple navigators available. Contact Katie with info above to be matched with someone who has capacity and meets your language needs)
Renewing the Countryside Statewide

Specialty crops, direct marketing

Support in Hmong, Spanish and Swahili languages available.

Jane Matayo, 612-644-0074

MDA Emerging Farmer Working Group Member Statewide Specialty crops. Support in Swahili available.

Ryan Pesch, 218-770-4398

UMN Extension Southern Minnesota Farm business management

Denise Reeser

South Central College Southern Minnesota Farm business management

Lia Spaniolo, 612-596-2126

UMN Extension Hennepin County Urban agriculture and small farms

Jim Velde, 218-234-3981

Central Lakes College NW Minnesota Farm business management


Additional sources of technical assistance to consider reaching out to:


What other land access resources are available?

Below are links to Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s additional resources for accessing farmland.


Please review the Request for Proposals (RFP) for complete grant eligibility, requirements and application instructions. The RFP can be found as a pdf in the 'Forms + Resources' box on the main grant page.