In 2022, the Minnesota Legislature provided funding to the MDA for grants to organizations in Minnesota to develop enterprises, supply chains, and markets for continuous living cover (CLC) crops and cropping systems in the early stage of commercial development. This includes, but not limited to, regenerative poultry silvopasture systems, Kernza® perennial grain, winter camelina, and elderberry. The MDA is in the process of developing this new grant program.

CLC crops have been shown to enhance water and soil quality, sequester carbon, build soil health, and provide greater biodiversity and pollinator habitat. Significant environmental benefits of these crops will result from widespread production, which requires robust value chains and markets.

The goal is to provide grants to CLC crops and cropping systems value chain enterprises for equipment infrastructure and business and market development. For example, this could include customized equipment to harvest the crop, clean and store seeds, and process crops for food products. The intended outcome is supply chain and market development that can increase CLC crops and cropping systems on agricultural lands in Minnesota.

Stakeholders

The MDA held two stakeholder meetings to share information and request input on program development. Stakeholders included individuals, businesses, and organizations that work on CLC crops and cropping systems. The following types of stakeholders were encouraged to attend a remote meeting and/or complete an online stakeholder comment form (CLC Feedback).

  • Small and medium-sized businesses
  • Prospective CLC-focused entrepreneurs
  • Rural economic development entities
  • Farm advocacy groups
  • Environmental advocacy groups
  • Industry coalitions
  • University of Minnesota researchers focused on CLC
  • Community partners
  • Rural water interests
  • Tribes and urban American Indian Communities

Remote meetings were held on November 20, 2022, and December 9, 2022. 

Grant Process

This competitive grant opportunity will be announced in approximately March 2023. Projects will start around May 2023 and end by May 2025. The final grant process and application deadlines will be posted once they are finalized.

Grants will be awarded to organizations in Minnesota. The term organization includes a company, government, tribe, urban American Indian Community, partnership, and any type of civil or political association of people. An individual is not considered an organization.

Collage includes five photos. 1. Elderberries and elderberry wine; 2. Hazelnuts; 3. Chicken near an apple tree; 4. Camelina flower, seeds, and oil; 5. Machine harvesting Kernza.
These photos represent some of the continuous living cover crops and practices. Top left to right: elderberry, hazelnut, and Kernza®. Bottom left to right: poultry silvopasture and camelina.

Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund logo
 
Funding for the program was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).