These grants encourage business planning and modernization activities and other improvements on Minnesota dairy farms. They can also help pay for stray voltage testing.


Grants cover 50% of the cost to hire a qualified, independent third party to create a business plan for a dairy operation or test for stray voltage. Dairy producers have used these grants to evaluate the feasibility of expanding a dairy, plan environmental upgrades, and create strategies to transfer the operation to a family member or other new owner.

Who is eligible?

Existing and beginning Minnesota dairy farmers

How much is available?

The grant pays 50% of the cost to develop a business plan, up to $5,000. You must pay the other 50%.

Ineligible costs:

Services that are not directly related to the improvement and continuance of the dairy farm, such as:

  • Nutrition consulting
  • Retirement and investment planning
  • Tax planning and tax return preparation
  • Intergenerational transfer planning that discontinues the dairy enterprise
  • Loan origination or documentation fees
  • Chattel real estate appraisal
  • Crop consulting
  • Nutrient management planning – except as required in the business plan
  • Veterinary/herd health consulting
  • The cost to complete a dairy business planning grant application

How to apply:

  1. Contact the grant administrator to find out if your project is eligible.
  2. Complete and submit the Dairy Business Planning Grant Application (PDF) or apply online.
  3. The application asks for the following information:
    • Farm summary
    • Goal of business plan
    • Professional services you will be using to develop business plan.
    • Budget of project
  4. An MDA review committee will look over your project and decide if it should be funded.


Applications are funded on a first come, first served basis.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about the Dairy Business Planning Grant (DBPG). If you have questions that are not addressed here or in the Request for Proposals, email them to us with "DBPG questions" in the subject line. We will post questions and answers on this page.

These grants can be used for a variety of farm planning and modernization activities. Examples include evaluating the feasibility of expanding a dairy, environmental upgrades, value-added opportunities, and creating strategies to transfer the operation to a family member or other new owner. Regardless of the specific activity, the consultation work done for your project must produce a comprehensive business plan by the end of the grant.

Since only one person per farm can apply, it should be the principal operator. This is the person who is the main manager of day-to-day operations. The principal operator can be an owner, hired manager, cash tenant, share tenant, or partner. If you think you have more than one principal operator, make sure only one of you applies.

Yes, you can receive more than one grant, but only one per fiscal year. Your earlier grant project must be complete and the grant closed before you can apply for the next grant.

You may apply for the grant, but any work done BEFORE a grant contract is signed by all parties listed will not be eligible for reimbursement.

Only existing or beginning dairy farmers are eligible for this grant. If the farmer wants to expand or diversify their operation to include other dairy related activities, they may be eligible. Examples include a dairy farmer starting a creamery, milk transport, or ag-tourism business. The project must relate to the business plan for the dairy farm.