Continuous living cover crops and cropping systems for purposes of this grant refer to agroforestry, perennial biomass, perennial forage, perennial grains, and winter-annual cereal grains and oilseeds that have market value as harvested or grazed commodities.


Request for Proposals

The MDA is requesting proposals for developing markets for continuous living cover. The state legislature provided funding to the MDA for grants to organizations in Minnesota to develop enterprises, supply chains, and markets for continuous-living cover crops and cropping systems in the early stages of commercial development. This is a onetime appropriation.

The MDA will use a competitive review process to award grants. The minimum award is $10,000 and the maximum award is $45,000.

    Purpose

    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.

    Eligible Projects

    Projects must aim to develop and accelerate enterprises, supply chains, and markets for CLC crops and cropping systems in the early stage of commercial development in Minnesota. They may not start until the grant contract is signed by all parties and has reached its start date. The projects need to be completed by June 30, 2025 or June 30, 2026, depending on the funding source. Projects must also be conducted by an organization located in Minnesota and be authorized to conduct business in Minnesota. Projects are limited to one grant per organization for this RFP.

    Timeline

    • Questions due no later than 4:30 pm Central Time Monday July 1, 2024
    • Applications due no later than 4:30 pm Central Time July 15, 2024
    • Selected grantees contacted; grant agreement negotiations begin August 7, 2024

    For complete details see the Developing Markets for Continuous Living Cover Grant-RFP 2024 under Forms + Resources.

    In 2022, the Minnesota Legislature provided funding to the MDA through the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) 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 Request for Proposals for this one-time competitive grant opportunity opened Monday, March 13, 2023 and closed April 23, 2023. A summary of selected projects is included in the table below.

    Organization Name Project Summary Award Total
    Dawson Drug & Gifts Purchase a freeze dryer to expand the market of continuous living cover crops, primarily fruit. $50,000
    Midwest Elderberry Cooperative Design, build, and test a continuous flow prototype elderberry destemmer that can be linked to a wash, dry, and freeze process conveyor line. $48,800
    Regenerative Agriculture Alliance Purchase a mechanical harvester and two de-husking units for two hazelnut grower networks in Minnesota to hasten ongoing development of supply chains. $50,000
    Nine Hazels Farm Improve greenhouse operation to produce hybrid hazelnut seedling plugs for sale. $29,657
    Perennial Pantry Build team capacity and develop standard operating procedures to operationalize a processing plant dedicated to the production of CLC products. $50,000
    Perennial Promise Growers Cooperative Develop capacities to and systems required to market Kernza. $50,000

    Unused funds may be included in a second RFP in June 2024.

    LCCMR Approved Project Work Plan

    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).

    In 2023, 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 crops and cropping systems in the early stages of commercial development. 

    The first of two Requests for Proposals (RFP) for this competitive grant opened Monday, September 11, 2023 and closed October 2, 2023. A summary of selected project is included in the table below.

    Organization Name Project Summary Award Total
    Gertens Propagate up to 10,000 farm-ready hybrid hazelnut plants $50,000
    MSX Nexgen Inc. Supply a regional location to preclean, dry, and store winter camelina, Kernza, and other CLC crops as needed. $50,000
    Perennial Promise Growers Cooperative Expand marketing to existing customers and sales of Kernza grain to new customers. $48,000
    River Rock Kitchen & Baking Co Incorporate Kernza into at least 75% of their baked goods. $50,000
    Rookie Farmers, LLC Purchase a winter camelina cleaning trailer. $50,000

     

     

     

    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.

    For the purposes of this grant “continuous living cover crops and cropping systems” refer to agroforestry, perennial biomass, perennial forage, perennial grains, and winter-annual cereal grains and oilseeds that have market value as harvested or grazed commodities.