two exhibitors standing next to the Seven Sundays grain-free sunflower cereal displayOur AGRI New Markets Marketing Investment Cost-Share Program can help your Minnesota farm or branded food, beverage, or pet food company take advantage of growth opportunities through a variety of high-impact marketing activities.

This year's program combines two previous programs – the E-Commerce and Digital Marketing Cost-Share and the Wholesale Cost-Share.

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Funds Available

We have up to $350,000 available for cost-share program reimbursements in Fiscal Year 2023 (July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023). We will process applications as we receive them, until we run out of funds.

Funding for this program comes from the Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) Program.

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General Program Rules

The cost-share program reimburses 50% of eligible investments unless noted in the specific program details below.

  • The maximum reimbursement per farm or company is $4,000 in Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23).

To apply for this program, your business must be:

  1. A Minnesota farm, or a branded food, beverage, or pet food making company registered with the Minnesota Secretary of State, AND
  2. A small-to-medium enterprise, which is an entity with fewer than 500 employees, AND
  3. A current holder of an MDA Food or Feed License or Minnesota Grown License number (either your own or that of a Minnesota copacker that you use).
    • Those holding local (municipal) food licenses or permits may also be eligible if the MDA has provided delegated authority to the municipality. Cottage Food producers with a Minnesota Grown license are eligible but must follow the regulations regarding online sales. These rules do not allow third-party distribution or delivery of your product.

Note: This program is not for brokers or distributors, retailers, or other re-sellers.

By applying to this program, you also agree to:

  • Promptly return surveys (post-event and follow-up) that ask for information including the number of leads generated and sales projections.
  • Keep receipts and records for three years and make them available for audit or inspection by the MDA or state auditor on request.

We reserve the right to deny claims from entities not in good standing with the State, or those who do not comply with the program requirements. Companies and farms that win awards at MDA-sponsored events may exceed annual limits by the amount of that award. Minnesota Pavilion booth space discounts do not debit from annual cost-share program limits, and eligibility requirements listed above may be modified for Minnesota Pavilion events.

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Application Deadlines

We process applications as they come in (first-come, first-served) until the application deadline or the funds are gone, whichever is first.

If funds remain through the end of FY23, the final application deadline is July 9, 2023.

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two exhibitors standing by The Amazing Chickpea sign

How to Apply

  • Apply through our online application system.
    • If you are a new user, you will need to create an account.
    • Once you are logged in, select New Markets: Marketing Investment Cost-Share Program (July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023).
  • If this is your first time applying for reimbursement, you must also submit a W-9 (Request for Taxpayer ID and Certification) by either:
  • Include proof of payment (receipts or invoices with a zero balance) for expenses paid during the eligible period.
    • If you don’t have receipts, you can send a copy of the invoice with proof of payment (a canceled check or credit card statement with account and other private information redacted).
    • Note: Expenses that are reimbursed by another state or federal entity are not eligible (for example, those paid for by the Food Export Association of the Midwest or the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program).

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Eligible Investments

**Contact us before you invest if you have questions on eligibility or qualified expenses.**

These high-impact marketing investments are eligible for reimbursement:

  • In-Store Demo costs (this demo log can help you keep track)
    • Must be a retail product demonstration in a store where your product is sold (this does not include sales at consumer events like farmers’ markets, festivals, fairs, etc.)
    • May include labor for an employee or owner at a flat rate of $20/hour
    • May include mileage at $0.50/mile up to a maximum of $200 per demo (mileage is only available if owners or employees executes demos, not contractors)
    • For contracted demos, 50% of your total investment qualifies (up to the annual $4,000 limit)
  • 2023 Minnesota Pavilion events
    • Doesn't require MDA or Minnesota Grown licensing
    • The following reimbursements don't count toward the annual cost-share limit:
      • Winter Fancy Food, January 15-17, 2023, Las Vegas ($1,500)
      •  Natural Products Expo West, March 7-11, 2023, Anaheim ($2,500)
      • Sweets & Snacks Expo, May 22-25, 2023, Chicago ($1,500)
  • “Walk the Floor” Mentorship at a Minnesota Pavilion
    • Only for approved participants in our Minnesota Pavilion Mentorship Program
    • One-time reimbursement per company; maximum $500
    • Includes costs like airfare, hotel, car rental, education sessions, and badge for entry
  • Business-Business (B2B) Tradeshow costs (not associated with a Minnesota Pavilion)
    • Booth rental
    • Badge scanner and lead retrieval services
    • Virtual B2B tradeshow registration
    • Association membership, if required to participate in an event
    • Note: FEAST! Local Foods Marketplace and Tradeshow both qualify for reimbursement as they are AGRI-sponsored events.
  • Wholesale and Retail Activities
    • In-store promotion costs
      • Includes off-shelf displays (endcaps, point-of-sale promotions), in-store coupons, promotions, digital ads
    • Syndicated data expenses
      • Subscriptions to consumer packaged goods (CPG) syndicated market data from providers such as SPINS, Nielsen, or IRI
      • Tailored category data from larger retailers or distributors
    • Brand strategy consulting for sales or expansion strategy across various channels
      • Consultants must be registered business entities and you must provide an invoice as well as an overview of services offered.
    • Logo design, label design, or rebranding contracts with marketing or design professionals (label printing is not eligible)
  • E-Commerce and Digital Marketing Activities
    • Third-party E-commerce marketplace or platform
      • Includes registration and sign-up fees, fees paid based on sales, and fees for premium positioning (shipping fees are not eligible for reimbursement)
    • Digital, email, and social media advertising that drives traffic to E-commerce
      • Includes advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media and investments in email marketing formats such as Constant Contact, Hubspot, and MailChimp
    • Photo or video editing software subscriptions
      • Monthly subscriptions must include all monthly invoices and you must be able to show proof of use in e-commerce or digital marketing upon request.
    • E-commerce, digital marketing, or social media consulting or management contracts
      • Consultants must be registered business entities and you must provide an invoice as well as an overview of services offered.
    • E-commerce, digital marketing, or social media training and educational event attendance
    • Website design and setup contracts
      • Includes photography or videography, website extensions such as store locators, and other web store utilities

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Ineligible Expenses

Costs that are not eligible for this program include:

  • Equipment, hardware, and supplies
  • Print advertising and printing
  • Electronic payment equipment
  • General business management software
  • Merchandise and merchandise processing fees
  • Retailer and other re-seller web marketplace platforms (i.e., Walmart.com, Target.com)

Contact us if you have questions on eligibility.

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Additional Information

Cost-Share Definitions and FAQs

A re-seller is a retailer that resells goods to the end consumer or a wholesaler that resells goods to retailers at a marked-up price. This also includes affiliate marketers that add value through combining related products or repackaging products.

Traditional business-to-business (B2B) tradeshows are showcases for manufacturers to display their products to wholesale buyers. Manufacturers and brand owners contract to rent a booth space at an event so they can pitch their products to buyers in-person.

Virtual tradeshows are online events that include 1:1 meetings between manufacturers and wholesale buyers that are arranged in advance by an event organization, trade association, or distributor.

Events that include general “consumer” attendance or admission do not qualify as tradeshows.

Badge scanning is a way for exhibitors to electronically collect and compile leads at an event. It is usually accomplished by purchasing and downloading an app from the event organizer. The app then allows exhibitors to take photos of attendee (buyer) badges with their smart phone or other device and keep all the information in one place. It’s a replacement for sharing business cards, although cards are still used.

For the purposes of this cost-share program, a Third-Party E-Commerce Marketplace or Platform is a web-based tool or marketplace used by Minnesota farms and food brands to gain exposure and make sales directly to online shoppers (individual consumers) or wholesale food buyers (retailers and foodservice operators).

Third-Party E-Commerce Marketplace and Platforms include entities such as Amazon, Amazon FBA or other fulfillment services, Alibaba, Shopify, Barn2Door, RangeMe, Grazecart, Wordpress, Squarespace, and Localine.

Online sales and transactional platforms offered by copackers, distributors, retailers, and other resellers (and any other entities that buy and resell products from manufacturers) do not meet our definition of a Third-Party E-Commerce Marketplace or Platform.

Privacy Notice

The information provided as part of the New Markets program cost-share application will be used to assess the applicant’s eligibility to receive payment under the MDA New Markets program and to fulfill applicable financial reporting requirements. Completing this application is voluntary; applicants are not legally required to provide the MDA with the information requested, but only completed applications will be considered. While much of the information applicants provide is classified by Minnesota law as public, some of the information may be classified by law as private or nonpublic at the MDA. Data classified as private or nonpublic will be accessible only to MDA employees and contractors that have a work assignment that requires access to the data, and to other entities authorized by state or federal law to receive the data. The MDA may be obligated to provide the data to law enforcement, the Minnesota Department of Administration, Minnesota Management and Budget, the Office of the State Auditor, or the Office of the Legislative Auditor. Finally, private data about you may be released to third parties through your informed consent, or pursuant to a valid court order or federal subpoena.

Internal Revenue Service Code Section 6109 requires applicants to provide their correct taxpayer identification number to payers who must file information returns with the IRS. The MDA will use the information provided on the applicant’s W-9 form in order to report payments received as part of the New Markets program to the IRS. The IRS uses the numbers for identification purposes and to help verify the accuracy of the applicant’s tax return. For more information on how the information provided on a W-9 may be used, refer to the Privacy Act Notice on page 6 of the W-9 form.