Dairy farms are diverse across the state of Minnesota. From cows, goats, and sheep, these farms produce safe, quality milk. Permitted dairy farms sell milk to processing facilities throughout Minnesota and surrounding states. Grade A and Manufacturing Grade dairy farms are inspected by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture in accordance with Minnesota Dairy Law.

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Assistance for Minnesota Farmers

Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation Program

The MDA offers multiple grants and scholarships that can be suitable for dairy farmers through the Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) Program. Examples include the Livestock Investment Grant, the Beginning Farmer Farm Business Management Scholarship, and the Value-Added Grant. For more information, visit the AGRI Program webpage or contact the MDA Agricultural Marketing & Development Grants Line at 651-201-6500.

Loan Opportunities

The Rural Finance Authority (RFA) offers low-interest loan programs to farmers for a wide variety of activities. The RFA partners with local lenders to provide affordable credit to eligible farmers seeking to purchase land or equipment, to finance farm improvements, or to reorganize farm debt. The RFA also offers loans for beginning farmers and can certify a beginning farmer as eligible to receive the beginning farmer tax credit.

The Agriculture Best Management Practices (BMP) Loan Program is a water quality program that provides low-interest loans to farmers, rural landowners, and agriculture supply businesses. The purpose is to encourage agricultural BMPs that prevent or reduce runoff from feedlots, farm fields, and other pollution problems identified by the county in local water plans. The projects are managed through local Soil and Water Conservation Districts or county environmental offices.

Other Assistance

There are many more resources available for farmers and ways to get help beyond grants and loans, including resources for coping with farm and rural stress. The Minnesota Farm and Rural Helpline can be reached at 833-600-2670, or by texting FARMSTRESS to 898211 or emailing farmstress@state.mn.us. Minnesota Farm Advocates provide one-on-one assistance for Minnesota farmers who face a crisis caused by either a natural disaster or financial problems. Farm Advocates understand the needs of agricultural families and communities. They are trained and experienced in agricultural lending practices, mediation, lender negotiation, farm programs, crisis counseling, disaster programs, and to recognize the need for legal and/or social services.

Emerging Farmers

In 2019, the MDA convened a series of listening sessions to learn about ways the department can advance the success and sustainability of farmers who traditionally face barriers to the education and resources necessary to build profitable agricultural businesses, including immigrant farmers and farmers of color. Learn more about resources for emerging farmers.

Frequently Asked Questions: Organic Milk Production

Organic standards are enforced by the National Organic Program (NOP), which is housed in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service. Refer to their program page for more information.

The USDA accredits private entities and government agencies to certify organic crop production, livestock production, wild crop harvesting, and handling (processing). Organic operations may use any USDA-accredited certifier, no matter where its office is located. The following certifiers accept clients in Minnesota.